Tag Archives: North Carolina

MLK jr. speech 5/17/1957 ~ Give Us the Ballot ~

“Give Us the Ballot, We Will Transform the South”

by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Speech given before the Lincoln Memorial at the March on Washington, May 17, 1957

Martin Luther King, Jr. Three years ago the Supreme Court of this nation rendered in simple, eloquent and unequivocal language a decision which will long be stenciled on the mental sheets of succeeding generations. For all men of good will, this May 17 decision came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of segregation. It came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of distinguished people throughout the world who had dared only to dream of freedom. It came as a legal and sociological deathblow to the old Plessy doctrine of “separate-but-equal.” It came as a reaffirmation of the good old American doctrine of freedom and equality for all people.

Unfortunately, this noble and sublime decision has not gone without opposition. This opposition has often risen to ominous proportions. Many states have risen up in open defiance. The legislative halls of the South ring loud with such words as “interposition” and “nullification.” Methods of defiance range from crippling economic reprisals to the tragic reign of violence and terror. All of these forces have conjoined to make for massive resistance.

But, even more, all types of conniving methods are still being used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters. The denial of this sacred right is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic traditions and its is democracy turned upside down.

So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind — it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact — I can only submit to the edict of others.

So our most urgent request to the president of the United States and every member of Congress is to give us the right to vote. Give us the ballot and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights. Give us the ballot and we will no longer plead to the federal government for passage of an anti-lynching law; we will by the power of our vote write the law on the statute books of the southern states and bring an end to the dastardly acts of the hooded perpetrators of violence. Give us the ballot and we will transform the salient misdeeds of blood-thirsty mobs into calculated good deeds of orderly citizens. Give us the ballot and we will fill our legislative halls with men of good will, and send to the sacred halls of Congressmen who will not sign a Southern Manifesto, because of their devotion to the manifesto of justice. Give us the ballot and we will place judges on the benches of the South who will “do justly and love mercy,” and we will place at the head of the southern states governors who have felt not only the tang of the human, but the glow of the divine. Give us the ballot and we will quietly and nonviolently, without rancor or bitterness, implement the Supreme Court’s decision of May 17, 1954.

<!–Read about recent allegations of voter disenfranchisement in Florida
and other states across the country in these articles.



Learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. and read more of his speeches and writings at The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University.

Resources: pbs.org

a message from Rashad Robinson – In Memory of NRBG


“I didn’t want to be right, but sadly I am.”-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her first interview since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Right Act.1

In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg predicted a wave of attacks on our freedom to vote. States have rushed to implement discriminatory voting laws now that the VRA can no longer block them. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory — who by his own admission has not even read the bill yet — is about to sign the “most sweeping anti-voter law in decades,” eliminating same day registration, cutting back on early voting, implementing a strict Voter ID requirement that does not allow student IDs, and even ending a statewide civics class that pre-registered high school students.2

Fight back against right-wing attacks on our freedom to vote. Support a constitutional amendment at FreeToVote.org

Below is the email we sent the day the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. As I said on that day, “This is no ordinary campaign, but one that will require years of hard work to win.” Please join me and the more than 274,000 others in demanding a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the freedom to vote. Take the first step at FreeToVote.org.

Thanks and Peace,

–Rashad   August 2nd, 2013

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU—your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way.


1. “Ginsburg Says Push for Voter ID Laws Predictable,” Associated Press, 7-26-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2843?t=5&akid=3057.1174326.MLufFl?

2. “North Carolina Passes the Country’s Worst Voter Suppression Law,” The Nation, 7-26-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2844?t=7&akid=3057.1174326.MLufFl

To: North Carolina State Legislature Fair Voting Districts Now !


Contact Campaign Creator

Campaign created by
Bob Hall
Fair Voting Districts Now !

Draw political district maps that are fair and open, avoids racial or partisan gerrymandering!

Why is this important?

North Carolina has a long history of lawmakers drawing voting districts in ways that weaken the political power of voters, especially Black voters. Drawing bad districts can disenfranchise voters, just like the Jim Crow poll tax and North Carolina’s recent election changes that a court said “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

The current NC General Assembly districts were drawn to pack Black voters into a small number of districts and also separate them from progressive whites to prevent “fusion” coalitions from winning more seats in the legislature. A growing coalition is fighting back, just as we are fighting against North Carolina’s voter suppression laws.

Right now, Black legislators and their allies have introduced multiple bills in the NC General Assembly that would reform the redistricting process. The bills complement the litigation and grassroots organizing for fair districts. We must support this effort to make sure voters can pick their political representatives, not the other way around.

We urge the NC General Assembly to adopt a redistricting process that:

-Abides by the federal Voting Rights Act and avoids racial or partisan bias;
-Provides for deep involvement from local communities to ensure that all voices are respected.
-Uses best practices from across the nation to draw district maps that reflect NC’s diverse population.

By following these principles, North Carolina lawmakers can protect our voting rights, ensure that Black voters are fairly represented, and create a state that values all voices.


Workers share fast food items you should never eat

by Desair Brown, USA TODAY

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 6:48 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 11 at 6:48 AM



Fast-food workers are fessing up on the menu items you should probably avoid.

Several days ago, Reddit posed this question on its site: “Fast food workers of Reddit, what should we NOT order at your restaurant? Why not?” And the responses keep coming.

Here are a few items that, according to Redditors, you should never order at their fast-food restaurants.

1. McDonald’s chicken nuggets and any McCafe drink. You can ask for fresh nuggets, but avoid the fancy beverages. Apparently, the machines are hard to clean.

2. Subway egg and tuna salad sandwiches. The salads come from a bag and are heavily mixed with mayonnaise. The cold cuts are kept in a smelly syrup.

3. Pizza Hut pizza. Chances are the dough is old, oily and handled without gloves.

4. KFC’s BBQ sandwich. The chicken is too old to even give away. It’s soaked in barbecue sauce until it can be pulled apart.

5. Wendy’s chili. The beef comes from old, dried-up meat on the grill that’s re-heated.

Watch the video for more fast-food items workers say you shouldn’t order.

Follow @desairbrown on Twitter

Ferguson Decision in Context


The Disturbing Facts Surrounding The Case And Where We Go From Here

By now the world knows about the grand jury decision announced last night to not indict Officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, on August 9. What you may not know, however, is the context surrounding the case: how remarkably rare it is for a grand jury not to indict, but how remarkably common it is for tragedies like this one to occur; a prosecutor asked to step down before presenting the case, and then slammed by experts afterward for how he handled it. These circumstances have amounted to a situation that has left many people, paradoxically, shocked yet unsurprised at how it unfolded, and searching for accountability and answers about how to prevent more tragedies like this in the future.

A decision by the grand jury not to indict is very rare. According to statistics from the Justice Department, grand juries declined to return and indictment in just 11 of 162,000 federal cases prosecuted by U.S. attorneys in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. While Wilson’s case was heard in state court, not federal, legal experts agree that it is extremely rare for prosecutors at any level to fail to win an indictment.

The prosecutor’s tactics made a charge much less likely. According to legal experts, county prosecutor Robert McCollough approached the case in a way that could have made an indictment less likely. He decided to let the grand jury hear “every scrap of evidence,” as he put it. Typically, prosecutors present to the grand jury only the evidence necessary to establish probable cause – a grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence but only if a reasonable jury could find the defendant guilty. Watch this video to learn more.

The prosecutor faced widespread criticism leading up to the decision, and after it. As the case began, civil rights groups called for McCollough to step down, citing his previous support for police officers in another police misconduct case, and a family history that includes many family members on the police force including his father, who was killed by a black man with a gun. After the decision last night, many decried McCoullough’s choice to make the announcement late at night, his long-winded explanation pointing fingers at the media, and his defiant tone that reinforced prior frustration with how he handled the case.

In the wake of the decision, community activists are taking the long view. ThinkProgress reporter Carimah Townes reports from Ferguson: “The death of Michael Brown was just the straw that broke the camel’s back, adding to a longer list of grievances in the community, such as income inequality and the need for a $15 minimum wage. And activist groups, professional associations, and individuals in and around the city are already looking — and planning — beyond the verdict, in the hopes of seeking justice for individuals who die at the hands of police.”

Lives cut short by police violence happen all too often. A 22-year-old carrying a sword his mother said was a toy. A 12-year-old gunned down by police while carrying a toy gun at a playground. Another 22-year-old who had just picked up a BB gun stocked on the shelf of a WalMart. A young man walking down a darkened stairwell in an apartment complex after he and his girlfriend got tired of waiting for the elevator. These are just a few of the numerous examples of lives cut short by police since Michael Brown was killed in August.

BOTTOM LINE: The context surrounding the decision not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown only increases the immensely troubling and tragic nature of the incident. While we respect the work and the decision of the grand jury, days like yesterday are a clear reminder about how much work we still have left to do to ensure that treatment by the criminal justice system is not determined by one’s race, and that the opportunity to prosper is not based on one’s ZIP code.