North Carolina Newspapers

    Honors for
top spoken-j
court: No
to slavery
can’t collect
from companies
By Mike Robinson
CHICAGO - A federal
appeals court has rejected
most claims by slave descen
dants that they deserve repa
rations from some of the
nation’s biggest insurers,
banks and transportation
The three-judge panel of
the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals affirmed a lower
court ruling that slave-
descendants have no stand
ing to sue for reparations
based on injustices suffered
by ancestors and that the
statute of limitations ran out
more than a century ago.
But the panel did keep alive
a smaller portion of the suit,
claiming that major U.S. cor
porations may be guilty of
consumer fraud if they hid
past ties to slavery from their
The opinion, written by
Judge Richard A. Posner, said
that “statutes of limitations
would be toothless” if descen
dants could collect damages
for wrongs against their
“A person whose ancestor
had been wronged a thou
sand years ago could sue on
the ground that it was a con
tinuing wrong and he is one
of the victims,” the court said.
It said statutes of limitations
could be extended in some
cases but not for acts commit
ted 100 years ago.
The panel also said the
descendants lacked standing
to sue because their links to
the slaves were distant.
It said the “causal chain is
too long and hzis too many
weak links for a court to be
able to find that the defen
dants’ conduct harmed the
plaintiffs at all, let alone in an
amount that could be esti
mated without the wildest
The lawsuit was a consoli
dation of 10 suits filed around
the country and moved to
Chicago. Slave descendants
claim that big American cor
porations - including such
Wall Street giants as JP
Morgan Chase & Co.,
Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna
Inc. and Charlotte-based
Bank of America - profited
from slavery and should pay.
It says the companies insured
and transported slaves and
even issued loans to slave
holders so they could buy
U.S. District Judge Charles
R. Noigle Sr. had dismissed
aH the claims. He found that
the descendants lacked
standing and that the statute
of limitations had expired,
and that the issue was poMti-
* ‘Unless Santa Claus is going to bring justice, we don't want Santa
Claus coming down the chimney this year.) f
Civil rights activist Al Sharpton
Protesters in the “Shopping For Justice’’ march pass Macy’s Herald Square in New York City. The
rally protested the fatal shooting of Sean Bell by New York Police last month.
mount in
Activists ‘shopping for justice’for victim shot 50 times
By Lisa Vives
NEW YORK - Some marchers
were silent, others counted down
from 1 to 50, the munber of bul
lets that killed Sean Bell on the
day of his wedding.
All in aU, the image of tens of
thousands of protesters, a sea of
black faces, was a powerful one
on Manhattan’s shopper-filled
Fifth Avenue.
'Iburists and sightseers from
59th Street to 34th Street
watched wide-eyed as old and
young demonstrators walked
with determination to demand
justice for the family of Bell, for
the two victims in Bell’s car
when they were shot by police,
and for all young and old men
who face the heightened
prospect of deadly assault at the
hand of uniformed officers.
Bell’s friend and fellow shoot
ing victim Trent Benefield led
the march in a wheelchair
pushed by the Rev. Al Sharpton,
who locked arms with Bell’s
fiance, Nicole Paultre Bell, and
her mother.
Benefield, 23, held hands with
Please see PROTESTERS/2A
Fashion, high tech meet at middle school
By Erica Singleton ,
The decisions have been made,
and the new uniforms unveiled at
Martin Luther King Middle School.
Fashion designer Cary Mitchell,
faculty, and a design team of 17
eighth-graders completed the
Fashion in the Schools project after
school administrators decided to
require uniforms for students. For
students, it’s an opportunity to learn
more about the fashion industry
and leave a legacy on campus.
For Mitchell it’s an opportunity to
share his trade with up and coming
designers and introduce a project
that could become a model for intro
ducing school uniforms to schools.
After the unveiling at a recent PTA
meeting, it would seem the program
was over, but only part of it.
comes early
with Second
Ward grant
By Erica Singleton
For 25 years, the Second Ward
High School National Alumni
Foundation has worked at preserv
ing and sharing the story of
Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s African
American commimities.
At a recent board meeting for the
foimdation, the members received
Please see SECOND WARD/2A
N.C. House committee
wants Senate’s input
'j& wiU recom-
By Herbert L. White
An N.C. House committee studying
dropout rates across the state wiU recom
mend the Senate join the
Rep. Earline Parmon (D-
Forsyth), co-chair of the panel,
said the Select Committee on
High School Graduation and
Dropout Rates will recom
mend to the House that a joint
panel vrith senators be formed Parmon
next month. The House com
mittee, which met at West Charlotte High
School in November as well as Haywood
County and Raleigh, needs more time to can
vas the state.
“Given the fact we barely started work on
this critical topic, the recommendation is
going to be that it can be re-established as a
joint committee with the Senate,” said
Parmon. “We haven’t had time to get input
from the public to allow as much citizen
input as possible.”
North Carolina’s student retention rate —
ranked 45th in the country at 66 percent of
ninth graders who’ll graduate high school -
cuts across all lines. Rural areas, which are
more likely to struggle economically than
cities face the same challenges, Parmon said.
“One of the things we’re realizing is rural
Please see HOUSE/2A
Juan Flowers, a content project
manager with Microsoft heads the
other part of the program that is
been rarely mentioned; the online
portion. Not only do students fix)m
the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area
have an opportimity to view the '
designs the students at MLK creat
ed, but they can also read about
their entire experience through the
Please see FASHION/6A
Charlotte developer Bobby Drakeford (center) donated $15,000 to
Second Ward High School Alumni House and Museum.
Former UNC
governor was
man of firsts
By Sommer Brokaw
Bom in a low-income West End
Durham neighborhood, Benjamin S.
Ruffin traveled in high circles, but he
never forgot his humble
“I admired Ben’s abili
ty to not become a per
sonality,” said CameU
Robinson, chairman of
the North Carolina
Legislative Black
Caucus, and a close Ruffin
fnend. “He focused on things that
were important to the everyday man.”
Mr. Ruffin died of an apparent heart
attack Dec. 7 at his Winston-Salem
home. He is survived by his wife,
Avon, and two daughters.
Mr. Ruffin graduated in 1960 from
Hillside High. He earned a bachelor’s
of science degree from North Carolina
Central University and master’s
.degree in social work from UNC at
Chapel Hill.
Please see RUFFIN/3A
Macedonia Baptist Church votes to
stick by embattled pastor, but some
are not happy about the choice./5B
Life 1B
Religion 5B
Sports 1C
Business 6C
Classified 3D
call (704) 376-0496 or FAX (704) 342-2160.© 20)6 The Chailotte Post Publishing Co. t ^

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