North Carolina Newspapers

    Sandra Dupree Verdict Has Merits
By Hoyle H. Martin Sr.
Post Executive Editor
The acquittal of Sandra Dupree, a
34-year-old Scotland Neck white wo
man, on a charge of murdering
Harry Lee Dickens, a 21-year-old
unemployed black man living on his
mother's welfare check, has led to
renewed protests about a dual jus
tice system, white racism, and the
need for basic changes in the state's
jury selection process.
Furthermore, "the trial," accon
ing to one published report, "attract
ed national attention because of the
racial issues involved."
It appears, therefore, that every
thing about the Dupree murdertr iai,
particularly from the viewpoint of
the uninvolved observers and self
styled critics, was viewed in the
context of race with*little attention
being given to the merits of the case
and other important related econo
mic factors.
Sandra Dupree alledgedly testi
fied that her 14-year-old son had
been assaulted five days before the
fatal shooting of Dickens by three
youths (who happened to be black)
while on his newspaper route. She
said further that on the day of the
shooting she placed her husband's
.22-caliber revolver in her pocket
book and got into her car to follow
her son, Mark, as he delivered his
Dupree stated as she approached
the Dicken's house she "saw a black
man holding my son to the ground.
She claimed she ran to aid her son
and in the ensuing struggle she
reportedly shot Dickens in the back
of the head as he turned away,
possibly to go and get a knife as he
had threatened to do during the
Conflicting testimony by three
eye-witnesses - Dicken's two sisters
a neighbor - left unclear what
actually occured just prior to the
shooting, however, there is little
doubt that there was a struggle. The
only really controversial question
arose over ballistic reports on how
close Dupree was to Dickens when
she shot him. Under similar circum
stances would not any mother have
done all she could to protçpt her son
and herself? To that extent, race had
nothing to do with the events that
With regard to the matter of
economics, the state appointed law
yers for the prosecution probably
were, as they too often are, limited
in experience and underpaid. Fur
thermore, Milton Fitch, 28, a black
lawyer from Wilson hired by the
Dickens' family to assist in the
prosecution, made the first jury
argument of his law career in this
case. This appeared quite eVtdent
when he used the weak argument
that Mrs. Dupree had used unrea
sonable force to protect her son and
herself from Dickens.
After the "not quilty" verdict,
Golden Frinks, a field director for
the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference, told a protest rally, "We
can no longer accept the jury system
in the State of North Carolina the
way it is now" and blacks in Eastern
North Carolina need more political
power and increased voter registra
tion efforts.
The POST agrees that the jury
system certainly is not perfect,
however, it is the same system that
cleared Joan Little and released
John Thomas Alfred. Furthermore,
blacks in Eastern North Carolina or
elsewhere in the state do not need
the Dupree case to remind them of
their need for greater voter registra
tion efforts. It is in fact, the apathy
of blacks toward registration and
voting that has and continues to
contribute to the weaknesses of the
jury selection system - a system that
selects prospective jurors from state
and tax and voter registration re
If both Dickens and Dupree wer.
black or both were white, would we
as blacks be uttering the kind of
rhetoric that Golden Frinks has with
regard to this case? Think about it,
and while you are doing so, ask
yourself are you registered and
prepared to vote?
iteagan 8 Contradiction
The heated race between Gerald
Ford and Ronald Reagan for the
Republican Party nomination for
the presidency appears to have
come to a sudden halt as a result of
Reagan's selection of Pa. Senator
Richard Schweiker as his vice presi
dential running mate.
The selection of Schweiker, a
strong liberal who is ideologically
very far to Reagan's left, has left
many Reagan supporters bewilder
ed and has caused many uncom
mitted delegates to move "a little
closer" to Ford. For example, Go
vernor Meldin of New Hampshire,
an early supporter of Reagan,
believes "Reagan has abandoned hi.
conservative principles" by this
selection. A Mississippi delegate
sciiu, n.eagaii lias uiuwn 11 ana
former Texas Governor John Con
nally has committed himself to
support Gerald Ford.
More significantly, Reagan's de- '
cision shows quite clearly that he is
not a man of firm conviction or
principle and therefore should not be
trusted to run the country.
The Post feels that Reagan is
simply an opportunists who cares
little about principal and party
platform when it comes to his
personal desire to achieve tne presi
dency. It appears to us that Mr. Fort
has now gained the delegates h>
needs to get the nominatiion, th<
POST believes Mr. Ford to be thi
wiser choice.
Blacks9 Destiny In Own Hands
Minority Railroad Center Hangs In Bureaucratic Game
iyiv. uuivnnnn a uuivivuuij
President, N.B. League
Last February 5, President
Gerald Ford signed into law
the $6.5 billion Railroad Revi
talization and Regulatory Re
form Act of 1976. The long
awaited Act provided for fede
ral subsidies to reconstruct
and to rehabilitate the delà pi
dated and bankrupt railroads
of the Northeast. Most impor
tantly, and with historical sig
nificance, the Act provided for
the Minority Resource Center
program under Title IX, Sec
tion 906.
Not until June 7, four long
months later, was Kenneth
Bolton sworn in as Director of
the Minority Resource Center
under the Federal Railroad
Administration. Barely ade
quate funds for the Center
were allocated June 1, after
much unnecessary bureaucra
tic procedure.
However, Consolidated Rail
Corporation (Conrail), autho
rized by the same legislation
to operate the system, began
operations on April 1. Imme
diately, contracts went up for
bids and work began on the
program, but without the Cen
ter to insure participation by
minorities as mandated by the
During swearing-in cere
monies for Mr. Bolton by the
Secretary of Transportation, I
urged speedy action with the
following statement and I wish
to share with you:
In January of 1975, the
National Business League be
gan a serious review and
analysis of the Regional Rail
Reorganization Act of 1973 to
determine how the minority
sector of the national economy
couW participate in the eco
nomic activity and the econo
mic benefits that the Act
would generate. The partici
pation that we envisioned then
and now calls tor the minority
sector to become a major
supplier of goods and services
to the railroad industry. These
goods include the manufactur
ing of hardware components,
spare parts, and capital equip
ment; all facets of construc
tion from grading and hauling
to the new construction of
bridges, tunnels and termi
nals; and a wide range of
services in the areas of archi
tectural and engineering work
lfegal, accounting, computer,
banking and financing and
The objectives of our efforts
were to stimulate economic
recovery and economic revi
talisation in Black, Spanish,
Indian and other economically
disadvantaged communities
by providing these goods and
services to the rail industry.
That economic activity for
minority business firms is a
pragmatic and sensible means
of creating permanent Jobs in
our communities for a large
work force that is faced with
massive unemployment and
inadequate income.
The models we followed in
developing this initiative were
Marshall Plan for the econo
mic recovery of Europe and
the MacArthur Plan for the
economic recovery of Japan.
This nation has proven that
the economic participation
program we advocate is an
effective means of revitalizing
an entire national economy.
Today, it is one and a half
years later since we began our
effort. On February 5th of this
year, the President signed the
Dr. Berkeley G. Burrell
$6.4 billion Rail Act of 1976 into
the law of the land. That Act
calls for extensive minority
sector participation in the na
tional rail revitalisation effort
which is expected to create a
$100 billion market over the
next ten years.
Federal funds are already
flowing into the majority sec
tor as a result of the Rail Act.
Conrail began operations on
April 1 with a (2.1 billion
capital subsidy from the tax
payers. The Federal Railroad
Administration expects to a
ward a $2 billion contract for
the revitalisation of the
Northeast Corridor by August.
The minority sector is still
waiting for the program au
thorized under the Rail Act to
begin. We are concerned that
the economic activity and the
economic benefits minority fa
milies, workers, communities
and businesses have been pro
mised under the law will not
be implemented in fiscal year
1976. By fiscal year 1977, it will
be too late--major contract
and procurement commit
ments will have been made.
We believe that there is still
time to save this program. But
extraordinary measures are
Vernon Ε. Jordan Jr.!
What Poor People Want
One of the problems with being poor and
powerless is that a lot of people assume they
know what's best for you and don't ever bother
asking what you want, what's on your mind, or
what you need.
That's why a recent survey by the Washington,
D.C. Urban League is so important. That
community organization designed a question
naire and conducted a survey of se
lected poverty neighborhoods in the nation's φ
Capital to find out what the people themselves
think about their situation.
It's true that poor people have been studied to
death, most often by scholars trying to prove
that something's wrong with the poor. Remem
ber all of those psuedo-scientific studies purport
ing to show that black families are disorganized,
that black IQs are low, that schools don't matter,
and all the rest?
Such studies made the poor into objects, things
to be studied the way scientists study lab>
animals. They didn't treat the poor as people
whose opinions counted and whose perceptions
were valuable and worthy of consideration.
The Washington Study treated people with
respect and further, was action-oriented. It tried
to pinpoint areas of concern that could be
followed up with sound action to improve
people's lives, not blame them for what's wrong.
Some of the findings are interesting, and
applicable to other communities. I don't have the
space here for a comprehensive report, but here
are a few of the findings that ought to get some
a oasic community proDiem was touna to oe
the high cost of food, in part a reflection of the
lack of competition in the ghetto economy as
large markets and chains have abandoned
inner-city neighborhoods. Many people reported
they had to travel far from their homes to buy
food and other necessities, and four out of five
said such goods are available cheaper in other,
more affluent neighbofhoMs. M !„
Thé answers' to this Situation, supplied by thè
people themselves, are for more and better
consumer education and for establishing better
shopping facilities in their neighborhoods. Co-op
arrangements and putting markets on city-own
ed land would go a long way toward making this
a reality.
Not surprisingly, lack of jobs and decent
income are continuing problems. The interrelat
edness of social problems is demonstrated by the
fact that half of the unemployed blacks in the
survey lost their jobs because of health pro
The popular assumption that unemployment is
effectively cushioned by jobless benefits was
disproved: only about 16 percent of the out-of
work blacks surveyed were receiving such
A majority said they needed job-training and
even those who were working indicated they
were looking for another job, probably because
of the low pay scales. All of this suggests that
training programs, with jobs at the end of the
line, are desperately needed in urban areas. And
consumer-oriented health facilities are tied to
the job issue since they're needed to assure the
better health that enables people to work.
Establisl od 1918
Published Ev< ι y Thursday
By The Charlotte Post Publishing Co., Inc.
2606B West Blvd.-Charlotte, N.C. 28208
Telephones (704 ) 392-1306, 392-1307
Circulation 11,000 '
Bill Johnson ; Editor-Publisher
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Charlotte, N.C. under the Act of March 3,1878
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Monday. The Post is not responsible for any
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The Prison Reform System
By Gerald Ο. Johnson.
Post Staff Writer
Most philosophers will a·
gree that justice finds its
merits as a public utility. In
fact justice depends entirely
on the particular surroundings
in which men are placed.
Its origin is based on proper
ty ownership Since nature
only provides the means and
men provide the end to proper
ty. ownership of property is a
necessary idea in all societies
Nature provides trees toi
everybody's use However,
ownership comes into play
when a person takes a tree anc
makes a house from it. Only
by some inate skill or learned
ability of an individual can a
means such as a tree, be made
into an end. such as a house
Therefore ownership is tangi
ble in a civil society
Now . justice is those rules of
equity used to protect owner
ship of property
Of course in a complex
society such as the one we live
in loday the rules of equity
extend past the simplified
form given above But in
general justice today is basi
cally the same thing.
Obviously, justice wouldn't
be needed if everyone had
everything he or she wanted
If property ownership was
equally distributed among the
individuals in a society then
justice would have no place in
that society. Moreover, if ev
eryone was above the law and
did as he or she pleased, then
obviously justice would have
no benefit
Since in our society we are
not at either of the above
mentioned extremes, but ra
ther somewhat amidst the
two, justice does have a place
in our society. Having agreed
on the merits of justice, the
question now becomes what is
to become of those individuals
who do not abide by the rules
of equity
In all past and current socie
ties this question was answer
ed by simply making such
individuals outcasts and plac
ing them in exile from society.
This isolation was a form of
punishment and the time
spent in isolation depended on
the severity of the crime
Harsher punishment was giv
en for some crime·, rvan
But modem day criminolo
gists along with many others
in all walks of life agree that
this method of punishment
leaves a lot to be desired
The biggest motivating fac
tor for prison reform is studies
indicating that individuals go
ing into prison come out much
worse than they were before
they went in. This is because
we exile criminals that com
mitted crimes of different de
grees together Consequently,
a robber learns murder tech
niques and vice-versa. When a
criminal is released back into
society he is a much better
Moreover, with the number
of criminals in our society
increasing, we are running out
of exiling places.
Therefore it is almost u
nanimously agreed that some
type of prison reform is indeed
Most people tend to agree
that rehabilitation is the ans
wer. I say it is not the answer.
A simple reason it we can not
afford it. Still another reason
is that it is an inequity for an
Let 's deal with cost first. To
rehabilitate prisoners effec
tively, you must deal with
them on an individual basis
Thçy must be given personal
attention, in order to get such
attention would require a huge
staff and modern facilities An
unprison like environment
must be created to aid in the
prisoner response to such a
program But the cost of such
a program would be exorbi
tant. A program that didn't
offer this much would be
inadequate and thus a waste of
money. Furthermore, a pro
gram that offered such atten
tion might t*ke away from the
punishment effect that a pri
son is suppose to represent
But in reality the fault with
prisons is not in the method
that is used to run them but
rather in the inadequacies in
our society that institutes
As it turns out those people
that have property are the
ones making the rules of equi
ty to keep on top of the have
nots. Ownership by the haves
is based purely on oppression
of some sort. As people be
come more aware of this
oppression th«y break the
laws in hopes of becoming one
of the haves.
Understanding this makes it
easy to see that rehabilitalion
is a right trying to correct a
wrong. The place io start is
not at the prisons at all. The
place to start is with equity in
distribution of property.
If we set up oui- society to
give individuals an equal
chance to be what they want to
be, then we woujd be on the
right track to prison reform
Until then we will be spin
ning our wheels going exactly
no where!
Film Shows Dr. King's Visit To WhpI
The Rev. Martin Luther
King Sr. visited Israel in 1974
with Mrs. King (before her
tragic death) and daughter
That visit has been captured
in a stirring film called "Mar
tin Luther King, Sr. in Israel »
The Dream Lives "
In the film, Rev King
speaks of his commitment to
world peace and brotherhood
and of his belief that "Jeru (
lalem is the mother country
for all the world.
"I could live in Jerusalem -
I could preach here," he states
η the film.
Rev. King is seen touring
he country and at an interde
nominational service conduct
id in the Garden of Gethse
This 16mm color film, 30
linutes ir^figth

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