This is the fourth in a series of entries from the UMass community celebrating Black History Month. In this installment, Linker, a native North Carolinian, explores the importance of Moral Monday marches in her home state, connecting the protests to a long history of civil rights activism.
Photograph courtesy of Jessica Injejikian
By Destiney Linker, Ph.D. Student, Department of History
“There is an organizing fervor like we have not seen since the 1960s that is beginning right here in North Carolina. This is our Selma.” – Rev. William Barber
Many North Carolinians express pride at being residents of the historically progressive Southern state. Given North Carolina’s history of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and forced sterilization, among other nefarious institutions, the word “progressive” should not be used lightly when referring to the state’s past. Still, North Carolina was the last state to secede from the Union (May 21, 1861), and, until the election of the current government in 2010 (legislature) and 2012 (governor’s mansion), Republicans had not seized control in the state in over 100 years. These are points that many liberal and progressive North Carolina residents will cite when lamenting the state’s withdrawal from moderate politics.
Since the election of former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory to the governor’s mansion in 2012, North Carolinians have watched with the rest of the nation as the Republican legislature and government passed law after law that disproportionately affected students, teachers, women, African Americans, and the poor. So far, the Republican government has passed the following measures: Continue reading