North Carolina Now; North Carolina Now Episode from 02/01/1996
The the. It's Thursday February 1st. Tonight remembering a moment in history in North Carolina now. Hello everyone I'm reading the trite Welcome to North Carolina now on this first day of February.
Tonight to mark the anniversary of the 1960 Greensboro sit in with an interview with a Greensboro city councilman Earl Jones. He's heading up efforts to turn the site of the sit in to a civil rights museum. And it's been 25 years since the landmark Supreme Court decision which ordered busing in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System. Now years later Charlotte-Mecklenburg is still struggling to find a way to achieve racial balance within its schools. And at the same time keep the parents happy. Our Charlotte bureau will explore the latest plan. But first some information about a multimillion dollar state plan that is aimed at reducing school violence. Dr. Jay Robinson the chairman of the State Board of Education says exact details and funding still need to be worked out. But he is confident that the at least 25 million dollar a year plan will be in place at the beginning of next school year. The plan to cut down on school violence includes setting up alternative school programs for disruptive students using state tax dollars to hire police
officers for North Carolina's 300 high schools and the State Board of Education also is planning a statewide summit to call public attention to this problem. Now the funding for the program must first be approved by the North Carolina legislature. North Carolina now will follow up this plan as details develop. Now let's turn to the concerns at the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System. Charlotte Mecklenburg schools have been struggling to come up with a new plan to ease overcrowding and improve racial balance in the classroom. And a meeting held this week parents and school board members finally came to a compromise plan to reassign almost 6000 students. It's a shame that we in this city we don't have truly integrated neighborhoods if that was the case. You know but it would be necessary. Lot of kids can't get can't get. The teachers are busy with other kids. The kids have been there. It's not equal education our children are losing out. They are not worried about
education. They're worrying about numbers and that's not where the priority should be. It's a subject sure to stir emotions in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County how to integrate schools to match the racial makeup of the city which is roughly 40 percent black and 60 percent white and other races. The neighborhoods around the schools are not neatly integrated 60:40 So each year students and their parents await the recommendations of the school board and each year the plans become more complex and more controversial. Assign not magnet students from the area to reassign Cotswold satellite to recreate. So we have some of that but it's extremely complicated issue it's very difficult to follow if you don't live down there and have been involved with it for as long as a lot of the parents. It all started 25 years ago Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools made history when local efforts to achieve racial balance as a result of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were simply not working.
It was really going around. Schools like mile the modern West Charlotte and many others were still segregated. Then Reverend Barry led ten black families in a legal challenge that resulted in a landmark Supreme Court decision ordering schools here to achieve racial balance through transportation. In a word U.S. Supreme Court today said the pupil assignment plan for the Charlotte Mecklenburg schools originally ordered into effect last fall by District Judge James McMillan. Today's ruling says in effect that wrestling and school pairing are acceptable means of eliminating racially identifiable schools in the first years. There was chaos. Parents said they objected to the long bus rides more than integration and many sent their children to private schools. In recent years school planners have worked to create alternatives. Magnet schools that offer special curricula like performing arts technology and foreign language were
intended to create more voluntary integration and new schools are generally built half way between white and black neighborhoods. Thought the long bus ride still exist. Suburban development has continued to spread south and east leaving urban schools like Cochran middle with less than 80 percent enrollment and schools like Providence on the south side well above 110 percent. Oh yeah yeah. Board members say they've tried to make sure parents voices were heard in the debate over finding a solution. We're hearing on email we're hearing on fax machine our telephones ring all the time. We've gotten thousands of letters and I think in a way it's because we've been so conscientious about reporting on our plan to the public. We videotaped the presentation and ran it over again on the public access station. It's on Charlotte's Web on the Internet. We
felt communicated with scores of parents. But what we did differently this time when parents wanted a change in the plan. We told them we would be happy to consider it but tell us how to do it. So we had parents and parent groups neighborhood groups studying the plan to find a way that they could be included in the new school or in the school that they would like to be assigned to. So the difference is that we don't have angry hostile people coming down here and demanding things. We have very. Thoughtful and considerate responses they understand what it is and what we're going through. The board eventually issued an 83 page proposal doing away with the old desegregation plan and instituting new school districts and classroom reassignments but busing continues to be a key element and that drew many concerned parents to the meeting Monday night. That's one reason my daughter is not a public school. You know I wanted my daughter go to school like I did I grew up in Arkansas
where I could basically walk to school or whatever. We have kids who are being bused 30 to 40 minutes from our west north and western satellite areas who after riding the bus for that amount of time have to go and eat breakfast before they can go and sit in a classroom and then they go to a classroom that has 26 children in it. Adding to the problem is the construction of a new education village. Just minutes from IBM corporate headquarters the 200 acre campus will house all 12 grades. It will be open to children whose parents work nearby and to other students assigned by the school board. The idea is that business leaders and other adults in the community will be more available to act as mentors. The concept of age grading will be abandoned as more than 5000 students work at their own pace towards graduation. Everyone who graduates will be fluent in two foreign languages and will be the latest in computer technology thanks to a 2 million dollar grant from IBM. All in all this education village is expected to be a model for the rest of the country.
The problem I really have with education is that everything all the basic area includes a predominately white area that is mostly black is going to bus will be from the inner city in the long bus rafters he has become that for when you have a predominately black area they could utilize it. When the vote was finally taken the board had given up on attempts to create a 60:40 racial balance in all the schools. The education village was amended to include adjacent black neighborhoods schools in predominantly white South Charlotte were left intact but still overcrowded. The board will have to deal with this issue again in the not too distant future. Charlotte's first magnet school Cathy marathon the mater West Charlotte High is now 54 percent black 33 percent white. The balance is made up of students from 43 different countries. Their motto is unity through diversity. Well later in the program we'll share with you the process of restoring
majestical to pipe organs. But first lawmakers are considering the possibility of raising the speed limit on some of North Carolina's highways. Michel Louis has details of that and the rest of today's statewide news. Good evening Mitt. Thanks Maria. Good evening everyone. Drivers on some state highways might someday go as fast as 70 miles per hour legally under a proposal in the state legislature. If it's passed the law would affect speed limits on four lane state highways that meet interstate standards. Last year Congress lifted a national 55 mile per hour restrictions. That means states can now set their own speed limits. The proposal has been endorsed by a legislative Transportation Committee and would take the law back to the way it was before 1975. More troops from Fort Bragg will be heading to Bosnia soon. Bragg officials say they'll send an infantry task force from the eighty second Airborne later this month. The force will be made up of about 750 paratroopers. Other soldiers from Fort Bragg have been in the war torn
country since late last year. The new director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries is making some personnel changes. Bruce Freeman fired the division's top unfortunate officer along with three other managers. Freeman says he fired Fred Swain for a number of reasons including his management style while some state officials say the firing was a matter of personal issues. Many state officials say they're pleased by the move. The administration says it shows the state is concerned about North Carolina's dwindling fish population. Nearly 90 percent of the state's cable companies will be hooked up to fiber optics by 1998 and that means better reception for your television set. That's according to a new study conducted for the state cable Association. The study also says fiber optics will help cable companies compete with local telephone companies where phone service and access to the Internet. Cable companies will pump an estimated seven and a half million dollars into the state's economy this year. Well North Carolina is bracing for another bout with Old Man Winter. A winter
storm watches in effect for the western and north central parts of the state which are expected to be pelted by freezing rain overnight. The mountains around Boone will see some fresh snow. Rain will cover the eastern part of the state. Highs for the day tomorrow will range from just below freezing in the mountains to around 60 in Wilmington. In business news this Thursday the head of RJR Nabisco is reportedly considering revamping the company CEO Steve Goldstone is looking at putting an end to advertising spending for its Winston brand if sales for the cigarette doesn't improve and Goldstone has a warning of sorts for the Food and Drug Administration. He says if the FDA makes good on its efforts to ban RJR as Joe Camel ads the company will flood the market with the cartoon character. Meanwhile union organizers say they've been asked to meet with some employees at R.J. Reynolds in Winston-Salem. They say the workers are unhappy with the company's broken promises of job security and its move away from its local roots. The Greensboro based Burlington Industries reports a drop in its first quarter profits. The
company's earnings came in at seven point eight million dollars. That's down thirty nine percent from the same time last year. Burlington attributes that it climbed to a soft retail textile market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed about 50 400 for the first time ever today ending the day up almost 10 points at fifty four hundred five point six. Volume was heavy with four hundred fifty nine million shares changing hands. The Standard Poor's 500 Index also set a record with a two point gain while the Nasdaq composite index was up more than eight points. And now for some stocks of North Carolina interest there. Today
marks the thirty sixth anniversary of the Greensboro sit in on February 1st 1960 four young African-American students from North Carolina and two states sat down at the Woolworth's lunch counter in downtown Greensboro and tried to order lunch a lunch counter at the time only served whites. Their brave actions were at the forefront of the civil rights movement and sparked sit ins throughout other towns throughout the south. A group called sit in movement Incorporated is dedicated to turning the old war store into. A museum Joining me now to talk about the efforts to restore this piece of history is Greensboro city councilman Earl Jones. Mr. Jones is also the co-founder of the sit in movement incorporated. Mr. Jones thanks for being here today. Thanks for inviting me. Let's start by talking about your personal interest in this project. Why did you get involved. Well as a kid growing up in the South I was familiar with segregation in the civil rights movement led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King also was for me born in Alamance County. I was familiar with nor can I
pay into the State University and the city and activity that spread throughout the south. In 1993 the Woolworth cooperation announced that they were closed the downtown Woolworth store and that was decided of the historic February 1 1960 city and. Conducted body for North Carolina State University students. That particular incident really invigorated reinvigorated the civil rights movement and many people attribute Disick cess to the civil rights movement to that incident on February 1 1960. Melvin Skip Austin who is a gift a canny commissioner and myself decided in 1993 that we found City and movement incorporated for the sole purpose of preserving deputed building for the sole purpose of establishing an end to National Civil Rights Museum in St.. So people in future generations can learn about the struggle of the blood sweat and tears of
African-Americans and other people. Who struggle with civil rights leaders of that day to bring about justice and fairness in this country. So when the war with store closed down what did you have to do. Did you have to step in and buy the building or did Woolworths donate the building how did all that work. Well the building was owned by First Citizens Bank and we work very closely with them and we are in the process of purchasing the building the cost is seven hundred thousand dollars which is basically the market value of the bill and we should have it paid off. That is samba the second stage of our effort would be to renovate the building do the museum design. We have talked with the museum design company out in California. They've been working with us to accomplish that particular go. And of course Thirdly we will try to hire as many artifacts in. And many of the videotapes and the things we want to put in the museum. How much is all this
going to cost. The approximate cost we estimate to be between 10 and 12 million dollars and really raised to probably 1.5 million dollars in pledges and direct donations in the last year and a high in the last year and a half. Yes. So are you getting the pledges are they basically coming from people or are they coming from corporations. Well we've been very pleased with the type of response we receive from the corporate sector but specifically in Greensboro North Carolina we received donations from the Corps Corp people or lower corporation co meals. Jefferson pilot the city of Greensboro has donated two hundred twenty five thousand dollars to get the canny government has donated two hundred twenty five thousand dollars. Time Warner has donated a substantial amount of money and the corporate sector in Greensburg if you can to pacifically has been very supportive and we're continuing to conduct fundraising to accomplish our goals.
But she would certainly accept donations from corporations outside of the Greensboro area. Yeah sure. But we wanted to do was establish that financial support from our home base and get that can in Greensboro and then we felt it would be much easier for us the actual funds and donations from people throughout the state and throughout the nation. Well what about an average person out there who's watching this who might want to donate some money is there a phone number that they can call. Yes our telephone number is 9 1 0 2 7 4 9 1 9 9. And we do have a direct coordinator. Her name is Dana Hayes. But you can call that number and we will accept donations and let me say that it is tax deductible. OK let's let's look down the road a few years from now when the museum is built and it's it's all that you've dreamed of. What do you hope that people who visit the museum will come away with hope that they will come away with a sense of struggle in this
country for people to establish justice and fairness and equality for our people. Hope the museum will not only point to the various struggles in the south to end segregation but also the city and used as a strategy in the civil rights movement was also used by the people throughout the world. When the wall came tumbling down in Germany it is seedy and as a strategy by those individuals when the key is sit down and tell a man square a challenge they utilize the city and strategy in the Philippines strategy. And in South Africa the students are used to stadium strategy in order to bring down apartheid. So this has not only been a civil rights leaders and participants of the civil rights movement in this country but it has been an inspiration and a spot for the struggle for freedom and justice throughout the world. Well and it certainly changed all of our lives for the better and I thank you for being here this
evening. Thank you very angry Mr. Jones. Well what do churches ballpark skating rinks and all movie theaters have in common. Of course organ music hall tonight reporter Andy Parker and a producer videographer Jeff Anderson take us to Burlington where one man is trying to bring an old organ and its popularity back to life. Paul Abernathy is a man with an obsession. Boy is he ever just listen.
It's Dr. Paul Abernathy actually. He is a triad ophthalmologist but Abernathy is also a man with another mission. He is dedicated to preserving a delightful part of our history. In this house in Burlington is Paul's pipe organ. Actually his wife says the house is adjacent to yours. Well when I was just short of six years old our regular church pianist had an acute gallbladder attack and went to the hospital and didn't get well too quickly. So I was pressed into service at the age of six and the church had to saying what I knew how to play. Abernathy and like minded friends all around the country are dedicated to the unlikely proposition that massive pipe organs can not only be preserved but can actually be reinvented to thrill a whole new generation. The task is a retired engineer. His work today is preservation
preservation of the sight and sound of a glorious year. It's about 90 years old almost in the original instrument came from the Strand Theater in Scranton Pennsylvania back in 1960. And I found in a barn in Pennsylvania in 1967 and we sort of put it all together and added a few pieces to it build a few pieces then I brought it to Raleigh North Carolina 1970 and put it in here and this year and we just had or are not real concert and it's in one piece right now but it's a it's a growing piece of art and it will continue to grow for the next many many years. In my opinion it will never be finished because always be things we want to add to it and change the first time I ever saw it was in a in a barn on the southern tier of the New York state that just below the Pennsylvania line and then there was snow all over it in water and it was really a mess they were birds in the pipes the dead birds and it was really something to see.
This was a very very short period in our history and it was something that existed that will may never exist again. And it was something to show that man can do certain things. And because of that I think it should be preserved to see that what men can do under the circumstances they have at their lifetime. This is truly a marriage of history and modern technology a blending if you will of the medieval with the microchip. The efforts of these North Carolinians and their fellow Americans will assure that even our children's children will always be able like Dorothy to take a step back at least musically into their own land of Oz and it will guarantee the future that the reverberation of these great pipes will go into at least another millennium. Dr. Abernathy and his friends are members of a larger group all with the same goals. There are internationally known as American Theatre Organ Society dedicated to
preserving the American theatre organs that accompany the silent movies and a large number of have been saved as a matter of fact some of the theaters now are putting them back in. Doc and his son Mack and Chet retire ski have installed an organ into the auditorium of the Williams High School in Burlington. It just boggles the minds of the kids. When we forget to smell the flowers and we forget to actually see what our humanity is given the so far. How can we create things if we don't know what we've done in the past. The high schoolers are gone now. The auditorium is empty the stage is still but the magic is still here. All you have to do is listen. That's all we have time for tonight. Please join us tomorrow for another edition of North Carolina now
- North Carolina Now
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- Earl Jones - Sit-In Movement, Inc.; Charlotte Schools (Merritt); Theater Organ Restorations (Park)
- North Carolina Now is a news magazine featuring segments about North Carolina current events and communities.
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- Chicago: “North Carolina Now; North Carolina Now Episode from 02/01/1996,” 1996-02-01, UNC-TV, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 26, 2020, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-129-09j3v320.
- MLA: “North Carolina Now; North Carolina Now Episode from 02/01/1996.” 1996-02-01. UNC-TV, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 26, 2020. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-129-09j3v320>.
- APA: North Carolina Now; North Carolina Now Episode from 02/01/1996. 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-129-09j3v320