North Carolina Now; 253; Kermit Smith, Sunny Side Oyster Bar, and Interview with Michael Dyson
The Tonight North Carolinians debate capital punishment.
Good evening everyone I'm Mary in the heart.
Thank you for joining us this evening. Tonight a North Carolina now capital punishment is it right or is it wrong.
On the eve of the execution of Kermit Smith are Michel Louis we'll explore the debate with some North Carolinians and we'll share the latest information on tomorrow morning's execution of the seventh person to be put to death since the death penalty was reinstated in North Carolina.
Also tonight do you search for self-improvement. According to our guest that was the message of Malcolm X. we'll meet an expert on black culture Michael Dyson and travel with us to the coast for some tasty seafood and bring your paper and pencil because we'll have some information for you to jot down. That's coming up later on the show but first today the United States Supreme Court denied Kermit Smith's request for a stay of execution. The ruling clears the way for the state to execute Smith at 2:00 a.m. by lethal injection for the first degree murder of will let Collins a Wesleyan College student and cheerleader. For years it has been debated whether the death penalty serves as a deterrent against fatal acts of violence. Mitchell Lewis went to Central Prison to find out what takes place before an execution. And talk with people who have strong views on both sides of the capital punishment issue.
On the morning of execution around 10 minutes to one o'clock I will come in and you drop anyway to prepare for the execution. Prepare for the execution of the shorts and socks and you know what I won't be watching here and to the preparation.
Although the outside of Central Prison in Raleigh appears calm. There was an eeriness inside as Kermit Smith awaits his execution scheduled for 2:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. Smith was sentenced to death by lethal injection in March one thousand nine hundred one for the murder of well-led Collins a Wesleyan college cheerleader from Rocky Mount central prison warden James French describes the next stage of the execution process.
They are trying to insert someone in my home when I'm right on. I want to be inserted into a gun. The reason for that is we have huge issues. Those are pre executions I don't want the execution.
No actually once the IDs are in the warden will ask Smith were final comments which will be taped or transcribed. The chaplain will then meet with Smith for prayer or consolation. After that the witnesses are seated and the warden will roll Smith into the execution chamber.
This curtain will be brought home.
Yeah I mean you will be placed through this execution was within the chamber and they will be behind the curtain at 2 a.m. Tuesday morning warden friends will call the secretary of corrections to determine if there are any final instructions. If there are no final introductions. The execution will begin that process usually about five minutes. Then we like to get a straight line at home. The heart wants the we get straight line five minute I were pronounced the inmate is deceased a doctor.
Out of six people have been executed in North Carolina since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977. Several organizations are working to abolish the death penalty because of religious beliefs or the belief that executions are cruel and inhumane punishment. One group people of faith against the death penalty formed out of the North Carolina Council of Churches has been holding vigils in front of the state capital for nearly a week and protest the permit Smith scheduled execution.
We can't use violence to undo violence killing for Mr. Smith because he killed somebody isn't going to end the cycle it's not going to bring. And the poor young woman back to life. It's a heinous crime. But putting someone else to death for it is not going to bring a solution. To crime on the streets.
State Attorney General Mike Easley believes the death penalty serves as a way of letting murderers know that North Carolina will not tolerate their vicious crimes.
Yes this is a case in which the defendant kidnapped a young girl and two of her friends he raped her he stripped her left her to beg for her life in the cold and then he killed her by beating her skull with a cinder block. If you're going to ever have a death penalty case this is a good one.
Despite the differing views on the death penalty one fact is certain Kermit Smith is scheduled to die Tuesday January 24th 1995 by lethal injection for his crime of first degree murder.
My first reaction is killing him. But the second reaction is something deeper within me that comes out of my own Christian faith and that is something that says wait a minute why can I do it can't make that judgment to someone. Can I play God.
I think people have to know that at some point if you commit a crime that's bad enough you will forfeit your life in the state.
I think it's very very important people understand that we know it's tough we're trolling. That's what we do.
Smith will be the seventh person executed in North Carolina since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977. The group people of faith against the death penalty plan a candlelight procession from Poland Baptist church in Raleigh to Central Prison. There they will hold a prayer service until 2:00 a.m. the scheduled time of Smith's execution.
On the lighter side tonight I don't have to tell you that our state has many great places to eat and if it's seafood you want the eastern part of the state is definitely the place to be. Reporter Maria Lundberg and producer Tim roughen teamed up to visit one North Carolina landmark that's full of tradition history and good food.
Eastern North Carolina barbecue is well known but if you travel a little bit farther down east you'll get a taste of another North Carolina delicacy a place that's more than just a restaurant.
It's a social of that for nearly 50 years the Sunnyside Oyster Bar in Williamston has been a gathering place for good food and good times with friends. The building started out as a cafe in 1935. Your oyster bar was added in 1045. It was so successful that the owner closed the cap and kept the Oyster Bar. Over the years the Sunnyside became a local landmark when it was put up for sale in 1993. Six local businessmen bought the oyster bar owner Johnnie Barbour believes it's a case of preserving tradition.
I want to keep it in the county and keep it. From come a franchise may be coming to an end just get to commercialise with the we want to keep saying there's no atmosphere.
The down home atmosphere is what keeps people coming to Sunnyside that and a unique style of serving only and the oldest oyster bar nice North Carolina you know the one that gets in front of you while you're at Sunnyside nothing is prepared in advance. It's all cooked to order and as long as you can eat the oyster shuckers will keep your film. The menu is simple steamed oysters and shrimp sauce and crackers and drinks.
Everybody says it is a place where they have eaten too much.
But eating isn't the only thing they do it sunny side Oyster Bar.
Well we have a group of teachers that come in here on there and I ate oysters and they usually have a hollering contest with other people here. And then when they finish they come play the jukebox and do a lot of country line dance and and that's lots of fun to watch.
So what is it that draws people to this pearl among oyster bars serving oysters a unique way for a long time and we just be coming here to join the Navy and have been saying you can call the Shockers.
You I mean you just like you. Bring your kids if you will. You can bring a crowded stove with three hours this is what was the place to hang it definitely has an atmosphere pasal And while it's noisy it's fine you can get messy and not worry about it.
It's time to drink beer and the horses and it's fun like it's not there to get us down to the place it has certainly maintained its original tradition with these young men that have come in this year have done an outstanding job and I have been very pleasantly surprised with their motivation and their drive to make this into a real horse class leader and once I found this place I found out that the fact that it got a reputation because it was talked about the New York Times because of that reputation customers flocked to the sunny side from all over the country.
It's not uncommon to find a waiting list for one of the 38 seats at the bar but patrons are more than willing to wait since they know what's in store. The ten shockers see to it that no one leaves hungry on a busy week. They may open up to 90 bushels of oysters is just part of the job for James Rogers who's been working as an oyster shuckers at Sunnyside for 23 years. He makes it look very simple but the leave me it's a lot tougher than it looks.
When I tried my hand at opening oysters it ended up as oysters 20 Maria zero. James I don't think you have to worry about me taking. Of course the very best part is when you get to finally reward your tastebuds. It's licious seafood tree.
Well tough assignment there will if you'd like to stop in at Sunnyside or Easter bar it's located on Washington Street in Williamston near the intersection of US 17 and US 64. Sunny side is open for dinner only from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 5:30 to 9 on Sunday. The restaurant will be open through mid April when oyster season ends and then it will reopen next fall. For more information you can call the number there on your screen 9 1 9 7 9 2 3 4 1 6. Still ahead two pharmaceutical giants discuss plans to merge that more state wide news with Michel Louis and a discussion on the importance of black culture with Michael Dyson. Don't go away.
Good evening I'm Michel Louis with a review of the day's top news stories from around North Carolina. Convicted murderer Kermit Smith is spending the final hours of his life inside a special cell called the deathwatch area at Raleigh Central Prison. Smith is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Tuesday at 2:00 a.m. for the murder of a North Carolina Wesleyan college cheerleader and 1080 Smith abducted raped and killed well-led Collins. Two of Collins fellow students who were also abducted by Smith were able to escape. Corrections officials have denied Smith's request to have the mother of his murder victim and the two women who escaped capture administer his lethal injection. Smith spent the day spending well visiting his mother. Attorneys and minister in the watch area at Central Prison. Governor Jim Hunt outlined his legislative priorities before a group of Raleigh business leaders today. Hunt says he'll go to the Republican controlled legislature ready to do business hunts three top priorities will be to cut taxes fight crime and help children. The governor says the interests of the state should come before partisan politics. The General Assembly gets underway on Wednesday. Video poker machines are up and running at the Cherokee reservations tribal bingo hall. About 100 people some from as far away as Georgia and Tennessee were waiting for the doors to open last night. The 38 machines were occupied all evening. The video poker machines will be open to the public seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. until midnight. The machines are part of the agreement made between Cherokee tribal leaders and Governor Jim Hunt to allow games involving skill on the reservation. Cherokee officials are negotiating with a Mississippi company to build a casino to house the machines permanently. The color of street signs across the country may be changing due to an experiment conducted here in North Carolina. Researchers at NC State have been testing the effectiveness of fluorescent yellow green pedestrian crossing signs at cross walks in Raleigh Durham and Fayetteville. The experiment indicates protest reasons prefer the new color and drivers seem to be more responsive. The signs are more visible from a distance and reflect light better at night. A Study Group will recommend to the Federal Highway Administration this week that the signs be used nationwide to Mark pedestrian and animal crossings. The Carolina Panthers made it official today naming Dom Capers as the team's first head coach capers who was a defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers has been signed to a five year contract with the Panthers. Capers says there is no timetable to make the Panthers a winning team. He says the Panthers should work under the principles of sound planning. Attention to detail and do whatever it takes to succeed.
Much of central North Carolina and the portions of the coast were a winter wonderland today a winter weather advisory was in effect for the Fayetteville area. There was moderate to heavy snowfall at times but in most parts of the state there was little or no accumulation. It was partly cloudy in the mountains and some rain fell in the Wilmington area. Temperatures range from the upper 20s to low 40s tonight scattered flurries or night. A light snow is expected to fall in the Boone area and in the central portion of the state. There is a chance of rain for the Wilmington area. Skies are expected to clear over Asheville and Charlotte. Tonight's low temperatures will range from the upper teens to mid 30s. Tomorrow our brush with the snowy weather will be over. Sunshine is forecast for Asheville and most of the Piedmont skies will be partly cloudy for the rest of the state. High temperatures will range from the upper 20s in parts of the mountains to the mid 40s at parts of the coast.
Drug maker Glaxo is bidding more than 14 billion dollars to acquire rival girls welcome. The merger of the two pharmaceutical companies would create the world's largest drug company. However industry analysts speculate that the merger would result in overlaps of management research and development and sales and would mean job cuts in Research Triangle Park where both companies currently have the headquarters of their U.S. operations. The Lexington City Council is meeting tonight to consider annexation of a piece of land that is slated to become a new industrial park if annexation is approved by the city council. Just over a half million dollars will be used to buy a 58 acre parcel. Eventually the site is envisioned as a 270 acre industrial park. The additional one hundred forty nine acres will be purchased over the next 10 years. The stock market was mostly lower in heavy trading today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down two points to close at thirty eight sixty seven point forty one decliners lead gainers by more than three to two about three hundred twenty six million shares were traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The Standard Poor's 500 index gained over a point while the Nasdaq composite index lost two and a half. And now for some stocks of North Carolina interest.
Joining us tonight is an internationally known expert on black culture who has taught at Brown and is currently a professor at USC Chapel Hill developing the play an institute of African-American Research. Dr. Michael Dyson has also written his most recent book entitled Making Malcolm The myth and meaning of Malcolm X.. We'll be interested to find out the myths and meanings of Malcolm X. thank you so much for joining us tonight. You grew up in inner city Detroit a family that was on welfare and you've since become a professor. Crites a challenging life that you've had quite a struggle. How has your personal history helped tell the story perhaps of Malcolm X.
Well I think I understand it intimately identified with him as a person who struggled enormously against the odds trying to find his place in an American society that was fundamentally hostile to him. So he learned to navigate the treacherous terrain if you will on the one hand imposing limits on black people by saying you're not going to be anybody on the other hand dealing with many African-American societies that coached him in the hustling life. So he tried to find his way through all of that and I think my own background being a teen father and then having to deal with welfare and then not going to college until I was 21 gave me a kind of insight in that intimate experience with Malcolm that let me identify with him with the treacherous terrain he had to negotiate. I think also what it made me sensitive to was that people who have been told that they are not anything that they really can't you know aspire to great things can work against those if they have the requisite kind of social and spiritual and moral help and fundamental economic help that the societies society needs to afford them in order for them to succeed so that gave me an insight almost more of a challenge to overcome at that point right.
Yes no question Malcolm X it really truly is considered a controversial figure let's say in American history. How do you view him after writing this book and I'm sure doing countless research on him.
Well I think he is an enormously significant figure. He's a figure who both speaks the righteous rage that was repressed within African-American culture he's the collective mouthpiece for those blacks who feel that they cannot speak out loud truth to power. They can't speak in ways that white folk are used to hearing. So you know not used to hearing someone Malcolm spoke it kind of we heard it up our loans because here was a guy who said to White folk what a lot of black folk felt but would never say. On the other hand I think Malcolm moved beyond narrow provincial conceptions of black culture he wasn't as parochial near the end of his life as he was at the beginning. So I think his controversy really doesn't pay attention to the way in which he made a challenge near the end of his life to those who were parochial and narrow. He was a broad humanitarian he developed and transformed beyond the narrow confines of say black nationalist belief or the Nation of Islam believe to embrace brothers and sisters across the chasm of race and color to say let's do this job together.
Let's talk about that the two Americans I know that you dedicated your book to your son you know a lot of it because his generation identifies with that Malcolm. Yeah. Why is that. Why does that happen.
Well because they're looking for bold defiant gestures. In this era of racial recession that is the way in which we've receded from the battle at the front line. We've just lived through an enormous What can we call it Newt Gingerich ization of American political discourse which means that the anxieties of certain white men have been pushed to the forefront. What that means then is that race is ambiguous. We're ambivalent about how to deal with race should we be explicit about it or not. So that Malcolm appeals to young generation looking for black leaders who will say let me tell you what the deal is about race. Let me express the rage and anger of young African-Americans as well as their intelligent opposition to forms of oppression. Malcolm fills that role.
Dr. Dyson I'm curious to know too with some of the background that you've had with black culture then in keeping with this name Malcolm X's daughter could be as was recently charged with plotting to kill Louis Farrakhan a contemporary of Malcolm X. What is your take on all of this.
Well I'm awful skeptical about the role of the FBI. We all know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has carried on a massive campaign to distort undercut undermine African American leadership and any logical orientation was not the God they surveiled everybody from the Black Panthers to the ACLC to Martin Luther King Jr's group everybody from Paul Robeson to Jesse Jackson. So we can never be. Take them on face value there's always something else going on beneath the scene. On the other hand conspiracy theories generated in African-American culture often mask the ways in which black groups themselves manipulate that conspiracy rhetoric to cover up their own problems. So it's both and I think in this case it's quite clear however that Misha has been taking advantage of her her feelings about the possibility perhaps of Minister Louis Farrakhan having been having something directly to do with her father's death was exploited this person who she was going to marry moved to Minneapolis to be with now is the person that turns her in. I think there's something fishy in Denmark.
I have a quick question for you also about gangsta rap I know you've done quite a bit of research into that. What type of an impact does that have especially on young African-Americans.
Well I think it both allows them to express their feelings about this so-called ghetto or the inner city conditions that many of us would rather sweep aside when we hear Snoop Doggy Dog saying follow me follow me follow me follow me but don't lose your grip because the years IA for me to mess up stuff. And I hope nothing back and you know I get 5 0 in a 20 sec. Well lyrics like that and others when he says you walked up jumped out my bed I'm in a two man sail with my homey little half dead. Murder was the case that they gave me. Dear God I wonder can you save me. He's trying to deal with the forms of oppression that come through the repression of black life. Black man going to prison. Black young people going to jail dealing with dope and crime and drugs in the inner city. How do you contest that rap music especially gangsta rap allows them to express lyrically the forms of violence that they see that that have to be dealt with. Sometimes they're massaging this thick and patriarchal they're sexist toward women they say very vicious things against gays and lesbians. On the other hand they also embrace young black people and try to show them ways of expressing themselves without resorting to violence on the streets.
So we have to look at it perhaps as an art form and still let folks take responsibility for what they're doing however.
That's exactly right I mean it's not that we want to let them off the hook we want to challenge Snoop Doggy Dog. But we want to also want to challenge people who allowed the conditions that they rap about to prevail.
Great Dr. Dyson thank you so much for joining us this is been really interesting talking with you tonight thanks it very timely.
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Well even though the Simpson trial in L.A. has been postponed a week it seems all eyes are glued on the mystery of this case. Tomorrow night we'll introduce you to a local doctor who is standing by in case he's asked to be an expert witness in the O.J. Simpson trial. We'll show you the work of Dr. Bruce Weir a specialist in DNA. And many of us know there are homeless people in our community. But where are they and how many are there. Answers to those questions on Tuesday show and a close up look at how two very different men became homeless. That story in a novel by NC State Professor Tim McLaurin called cured by fire. Mr. McLaurin will visit with us to share that very powerful story for you late night. CHARLIE ROSE fans tonight at midnight you can catch Rose's guest Richard Holbrooke and a look back at the life of the matriarch of one of America's top political families. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy and of course from time to time we like to share with you some of the letters that we have received from you our viewers. And tonight I have two I would like to share with you. One from Joe Bell in Chapel Hill who writes to us to tell us that she really enjoys our show. She's lived in North Carolina a long time but has never realized some of the wonderful and fascinating people that have lived here but has really seen that show in our show North Carolina now as we highlight that. Another one from James price in Hayesville North Carolina who says he says he doesn't see very much tv can't pick it up in his area but does get North Carolina Public Television. I would like to thank us for the quality show that we have here in North Carolina now. Of course we love to receive your comments. Keep them coming as well improvements that we can make on this show.
We thank you so much for joining us this evening Hope to see you back here tomorrow night. Goodnight everyone.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
- North Carolina Now
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- An informative report on local North Carolina news. Host Mary Lou Harcharic introduces the episode's features. Mitchell Lewis explores the debate over capital punishment, focusing on the impending execution of Kermit Smith. Reporter Maria Lundberg and Producer Tim Ruffin team up to visit Williamston, North Carolina, for a report on Eastern Carolina barbeque at Sunny Side Oyster Bar. Mitchell Lewis also covers statewide news. The episode concludes with an interview between Harcharic and Dr. Michael Dyson, Professor of Communications at UNC-Chapel Hill, about his recent book on Malcolm X.
- North Carolina Now is a news magazine featuring segments about North Carolina current events and communities.
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Director: Massengale, Susan
Host: Harcharic, Mary Lou
Interviewee: Dyson, Michael Eric
Producer: Lewis, Mitchell
Producer: Hannah, Bill
Producer: Garner, Bob
Producer: Harcharic, Mary Lou
Producer: Bramlett, Jim
Producer: Harrison, Ted
Producer: Lundberg, Maria
Producer: Harde, Elizabeth
Producer: Francis, Sabrina
Producer: Morton, Geary
Producer: Talbot, Maurice
Producing Organization: UNC-TV
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Identifier: NC0253 (unknown)
Format: Betacam SP
Generation: Master: broadcast
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- Chicago: “North Carolina Now; 253; Kermit Smith, Sunny Side Oyster Bar, and Interview with Michael Dyson,” 1995-01-23, UNC-TV, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 21, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_129-02c86bqf.
- MLA: “North Carolina Now; 253; Kermit Smith, Sunny Side Oyster Bar, and Interview with Michael Dyson.” 1995-01-23. UNC-TV, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 21, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_129-02c86bqf>.
- APA: North Carolina Now; 253; Kermit Smith, Sunny Side Oyster Bar, and Interview with Michael Dyson. Boston, MA: UNC-TV, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_129-02c86bqf