Blacks lament lack of power

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Yeomans, Jonathan. "Blacks lament lack of power." Robesonian Monday, April 23, 2007.


This article reports on reactions from Black residents of Robeson County to County Commissioners' failure to approve T. S. Byrd for the Board of Social Services. Byrd was the recommendation of County Commissioner Jerry Stephens, who represents District 1, one of two predominantly Black districts in the county. Instead, the commissioners approved Otis Pelham. Stephens left the meeting to regain his composure after the vote. While he was absent, the Rev. Jimmy Gilchrist commented that the commissioners had disenfranchised the Black community by not selecting Byrd and also had chosen, instead, someone they could control.Commissioner Raymond Cummings, who made the substitute motion to nominate Pelham for the position, said that he did not propose Pelham as a power play, and that Pelham's name was the only one that had been circulated before the meeting. Stephens felt that the nomination was his to make, since many residents of his district use Social Services and since E. B. Turner had made the nomination before him. Cummings maintained that Stephens should have asked for support of his nominee in advance of the meeting. Stephens said he should not have to play politics.The article reports comments calling the decision "subtle racism"; saying the board doesn't work together to advance the entire county; and saying that the board's current racial makeup (two Blacks, three Whites, and three Indians) "condemns Blacks to less." The article also reports that Victor Alford is organizing a protest march and also working to organize a group to advocate for Blacks.

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Alford, Victor | Byrd, T. S. | Cummings, Raymond | Gilchrist, Jimmy (Rev.) | Pelham, Otis | Robeson County Board of Commissioners | Robeson County Board of Social Services | Stephens, Jerry | Woods, Noah