75 cents WlNSTON-SALEM GREENSBORO HIGH POTNT Vol. XXV No. 41
01060k)* * CAR-RT-SORT* *C012 \1? " UVW
N c ROOM A ?a<A ,ari 12 25 Years -1999 ..? Qolprn NC
FORSYTH CNTY PUB LIB ^ \\X*a l5*J itrurs 177? JQlV^'t '
660 W 5TH oA
WINSTON SALEM NC 27101-2755
hem M dte
oaf cm acsMot
ed in a went
At right. Mho
Area Gay Pride ?
throngs at fan*
Race still dominant issue for black gays I I]
BY DAMON FORD
GREENSBORO - Darnel
Gay is a gay black man who says
the only difference between him
and straight blacks is the person
he chooses to sleep with at night.
And whether you believe it or
not the 36-year-old Greensboro
resident says there are many more
like himself in the Triad and
around the state
"A lot of blacks are in the
closet ... because the black com
munity is less accepting," he said.
"There are black gay parties going
on all the time, I mean packed,
Gay, who co-chaired N.C.
Pride '99, a gay, lesbian, bisexual
and transgender cultural festival
that was held in Greensboro last
weekend, says the decision to
come out and make one's homo
sexuality known to others can be
tough, especially for family mem
./ ? ,
"It was hard on them at first,"
Hard enough that he doesn't
talk to his father anymore and he
had to keep telling his mother that
she didn't h*v? to blame herself
for the fact that he is gay.
"I knew I was gay basically all '
of my life," Gay said.
Today he is closer than ever
with his mother and has a healthy
relationship with his sister.
For Sean Covington, a Mack
lesbian from Durham, the posi
five responses she received from
her family caught her by surprise
"My family threw me for a
loop at first," she said.
Cbvingtoa's parents initially f
thought she was just going j I
through a phase. When they I
found out sip wasn't, they eventu
ally grew to accept it.
Telling her friends was a lot
"Growing up we would always J I
talk about being gay and how we 8
See Block Ooys on AS i I
City loses voice
' Photo by Ervin Brisbon
For years, Ervin Briibon, tar Mi, fought against racism. Tha Greensboro activist dimd suddenly marly Sunday. Oreonsboro has lost a strong
voice, say local officials. Abovo, Brisbon makes a point during a recent community meeting.
Greensboro activist Ervin Brisbon dies
BY DAMON FORD
GREENSBORO - Black chil
dren in Greensboro lost one of
. their strongest advocates last week
Noted civil rights activist Ervin
Brisbon died Sunday.
Brisbon, 46, had spent the past
year fighting to end what he called
the unfair busing of black students
to achieve racial balances in the
Guilford County School System.
Paramedics were called to his
apartment at 6:44 a.m. on Sunday,
and he was rushed to Moses Cone
Hospital, where he was pro
nounced dead at 7:48 a.m.
Reports from an ailtopsy done
in Chapel'Hill showed an enlarged
heart that may have been the rea
son for his death.
According to his son, Ervin
Brisbon II, doctors believe the
activist had a heart attack.
Funeral services will be held
today at 2 p.m. at New Light Bap
tist Church, 1105 Willow Road in
Greensboro. Parishioners will be
allowed to view the body and visit
family members at the church
starting at 1 p.m.
No matter what the reason may
be for Brisbon's untimely death,
Greensboro residents are still
floored by the tragedy.
"It shocked me because he
looked to be in good shape," said
Louis Fields, Greensboro NAACP
Fields said she had just seen
Brisbon a couple of days before his
death at a community meeting and
didn't see any signs of poor health.
"I think the city of Greensboro
will miss him dearly," he said.
Brisbon had been a proponent
for civil rights since the '70s.
Fields, who served in city gov
ernment for years, talked about
and worked with Brisbon on pro
jects and programs to help better
the black community, especially
"It's a sad affair. Mr. Brisbon
provided the impetus to provide a
voice for the downtrodden," Fields
Most recently Brisbon had
been fighting on the front lines in
the battle to ensure that Guilford
County Schoo| Board members
didn't continue to force black chil
dren to carry the brunt of busing
for integration purposes. Brisbon
believed so much in this cause that
he went to jail along with 14 other
members of the N.C. Racial Justice
Network, an interracial civil rights
organization, in February for dis
rupting a school board meeting.
While 13 of his colleagues were
released the next day, Brisbon and
Clarence Todman spent a week in
a High Point jail because of their
Tefusal to sign a promissory note to
stay away from any more meetings
until their trial date.
After his release on March 2
Brisbon and other Network mem
bers were back in the struggle for
S<r Brisbon on A10
'It's time for us to
leave our mark'
Valedictorian challenges classmates to
continue to make a difference after graduation
By PAUL COLLINS
. THE CHRONICLE
Saturday was a historic day for the Nakialee Starks.
Nakialee is the first of four children in her family to graduate from
high school. She graduated Saturday from LIFT Academy during an
hour-long ceremony at the Sawtooth Center.
"I feel great 1 feel elated. I feel like I've achieved a goal," Nakialee
said immediately after graduation, in between exchanging hugs with
friends and relatives.
See UFT on A11
Hi ? N! jfe" j"
Pfcoto by P?ul CoUu*
lift graduatot MicMb Cootar, front loft, and Shamoika AHon, front
right, tolohrato orith thoir tlaumotot aftor rocoMng thoir diploma?.
Benton loses position to
Pitt; Andrews re-elected
* .* ??
head of board
By T. K.EV1N WALTER
What a difference a year made at the Housing Authority of Winston
At its meeting Monday, the HAWS board of commissioners re-elect
ed William Andrews the chairman of the board. Emie Pitt, who is the
publisher of The Chronicle, was elected vice chairman. Pitt; and
Andrews were unopposed.
Pitt will take over vice chairman duties for William Benton. Monday
may have been Benton's fast meeting as a HAWS commissioner. Benton
and others say Mayor Jack Cavanagh will not reappoint him to the
"I assume this is my last meeting," Benton said after the short meet
! ?tl:_ :* 3 i
mg. i nis is 11 iui KiL.
This time last year, Benton sat on a HAWS
board that had nine members, many of whom were
public housing residents. The board that Benton sat
on Monday had only five voting members. Con
stance Thomas, a public housing resident, also sits
on the board, but her role is an advisory one. She
does not vote.
Cavanagh cut the HAWS board last summer by
four members, appointing Pitt and Andrews to
seats once held by public housing residents. The
mayor's decision touched off a storm of controver
sy Public housing residents staged protests and
picketed board members who supported the
The strain was felt on the board of commission
ers. Benton and former board member Ellen Haz
zard, both of whom were appointed by former
mayor Martha Wood, complained that their roles
were reduced on the Andrews-led board and that
they felt isolated from other board members.
"I don't have a role to play," Benton said. - -
Benton and Hazzard often found themselves on
the losing end of votes, most notably when they
tried, in vain, to save the job of Marie Roseboro, a
former executive director of HAWS.
The board voted 3-2 to fire Roseboro last October, mere months after
Cavanagh changed the composition of the board. Citing a number
issues, including a $28,000 check that was accidentally sent to a public
housing resident by HAWS, the board said that Roseboro was not qual
ified to lead an agency the size of HAWS.
But some public housing residents and elected officials believed that
something more sinister was behind Roseboro's firing. In conversations
all over the city, some hinted that Cavanagh, Andrews and Pitt were
involved in a conspiracy to privatize HAWS for their own gain.
In a meeting held in support of Roseboro a week after, her firing,
about 20 people tossed around the allegation and claimed that Rose
bori's ouster was unjustified. Although often called a "people person"
by the residents she served, Roseboro had come under fire from her own
See HAWS < n A10
Funding for themes
'will take us back'
Marshall says he's unsure if board will grant
school system's request for additional funding
By T. KEVIN WALKER
Walter Marshall now says he's unsure
whether his colleagues on the Forsyth County
Board of Commissioners will grant the city
county school board's request for extra money
to implement themes at the system's elementary
and middle schools.
Last month, Marshall had predicted that the
commissioners would not grant the school sys- I
tern its S1.2S million request because the coun
Set Commiesieoen on A11
^ ? FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS CALL (336) 722-8624 ? MASTERCARD, VISA AND AMERICAN SXPRKSS ACCEPTED ?
? 'm< * ?
> . y