This is in response to a comment left at another article, “Edgecombe County Democratic Party after the convention is still without an effective chair to lead the county party”
I have been a member of the Edgecombe County Democratic Party since the 90’s and it attracts no one. The participation has continued to go down. The faithful folks (elected officials) whom used to attend to not attend any more.
I began as the 3rd vice chair of my precinct because I was in my late 20’s and the youngest person to attend the meetings so therefore I served by default because I met the age criteria of 36 years old and younger.
I quickly moved up to the county party and served as the 3rd vice chair by default. I met the age criteria 36 and under however I was in my late 20’s so they had no choice but to make me 3rd vice. I had a mind of my own so they didn’t want me. I refused to go away and I challenged everyone black, brown, white and other so therefore I was not liked by many especially blacks because they were jealous of me speaking my mind.
I came from a strong family and have never wanted for anything so I didn’t come to the party for anything other than to help make Edgecombe County a better place to live, work and play. And the same holds true when I joined the NAACP I didn’t join them because I had an issue but to do the same with them with them also. But most people come to the party because they want to run for an office or have a personal fight.
I remember when I first joined someone said we need you because I didn’t like white folks and they based that on my editorials in response to former Highway Patrol T.C. Cherry and later former County Commissioner when he used to write editorials about black folks. I said oh hell no I like all folks so don’t get it twisted just because I am not afraid to write letters in the paper and sign my name to it. I said what is black leadership doing, they are not creating any jobs but look at what several whites in the Democratic Party are doing?
I eventually moved up to 2nd vice, 1st vice chair and interim chair from 1998 – 1999 when now Rev. Roy Gray resigned his post and the 2nd vice which was Mayor Vines Cobb had just had surgery so he did not want to move up and Celestine Lyons was 1st vice and she ran against T.C. Cherry for County Commissioner so since Cherry and Lyons were both Democrats she had to resign as an officer on the county level. I took on the interim chair position although I was a candidate for school board, my race was a non-partisan race so I didn’t have to resign. This was a crucial time because this was the first election for the 1st black Sheriff James Knight whom was appointed in 1996. Carol Allen White became the 1st black Clerk of Court and Senator John Edwards won the Senate seat. His campaign field director Anthony Young worked hard in Edgecombe County and this is the last real event that was held by the party and it was held at the National Guard Armory.
I didn’t run for the chair position in 1999 because the people of Edgecombe County was not ready for me because I was not the typical young black male. Rev. Roosevelt Higgs a known criminal by all of the party members campaigned for the chair position however Ms. Elizabeth Ohree nominated me and I accepted the nomination so that those in attendance would have an option. Higgs won the nominee and many of those present said if they knew I was going to be a candidate they would have voted for me but since Higgs had asked them to support him they did. So that spoke highly of those who supported him. Higgs had voted twice in an election went to jail and had lost his citizenship. His rights were restored under former Governor Jim Hunt because the Rev. Thomas L. Walker and some others fought to get Higgs rights restored. Black folks used their leverage to get Higgs back and he has been a pain in the butt every since from what I was told and I can witness it since the early 90’s. He has always played both sides since I have been active.
I served as a vice chair under the leadership of former chair Dorothy Joyner and she resigned before her term expired and I had to move up to the chair position again. Again I didn’t want the chair position and this is when Celestine Lyons was appointed as chair.
I believe the last time we have really had young folks involved was during the time I was the interim chair and I appointed someone to carry out that role. We were getting if off the ground but it went away when Higgs became chair.
A couple of years ago Attorney Will Solomon became the Young Democrats chair and I offered to work with him along with Rocky Mount Councilman Andre Knight whom both are several years younger than I. He never contacted us.
So when I hear about young folks not being involved and who has something to say, I just laugh my butt off because they have been part of the problem.
I had gotten so fed up with the Democratic Party that I once registered Unaffiliated but that was no fun because I had no meetings to go to and had no voice in what was going on within the Democratic Party so I changed my party affiliations back so I could attend the meetings and voice my opinion.
Welcome aboard Crews my friend and enjoy the ride. Until Rev. Roosevelt Higgs is out of the picture the confusion and b.s. will always exist in the party. I didn’t have a problem with him when I was the interim chair other than he trying to block everything I did but some folks had to make him aware that the chair and the other 5 county officers were in control whenever the entire executive committee was not in session. I knew my role and when I had meetings my agendas went out to the committee with the items for action listed and the section within the Plan of Organization so that no one came to the meeting with knowing what business would take place. I called all of the executive committee members to remind them of the meetings although letters had gone out.
I was not only the chair but I was the secretary as well. During the time I was the interim chair in 1998 – 1999 my secretary was an elderly person and I always met with her and I would type up the information and get everything prepared for her and she had no problem with it. We worked great together.
When Dorothy Joyner resigned I put pressure on the secretary and she resigned again I was the chair and secretary. The secretary at that time was not doing a good job and she and another person had their personal agenda so I put pressure on her and she resigned.
During my 1998 – 1999 tenure as interim chair I was vice president of N.E.E.D. Inc. and Mr. William Hobbs was the treasurer. He was also chair of the Nash County Democratic Party so he and his wife were my mentor because I learned from him as it related to carrying out the meetings and etc.
Higgs in his early 50’s at the time was removed as a county officer when Rocky Mount Councilman Andre Knight in his early 30’s at the time defeated Higgs as a vice chair. He continues to serve as a precinct chair when many know he do not live where he says he live and has not lived in the Speed since the flood in 1999. There is no livable housing on the property that he has been claiming over the years and a previous board of elections did not go out to the property to confirm Higgs didn’t live there. Higgs had filed a residency challenge against Rocky Mount Councilman Andre Knight in which 1 Democratic board of elections member and her Republican cousin and a judge in Edgecombe County ruled against Knight. However Knight appealed to the Court of Appeals and won and the county had to pay Knight attorney fees.
This is what young folks seen in the local newspapers and on the local tv channels so why in the hell would young folks want to get involved with the county party when the party allowed Higgs to do his mess?
I could go on however I think I have given you enough to see what has taken place since I got involved in the early 90’s and how some things have not changed while many things have stayed the same. No young folks in 2011.
Crews I dare you to read the following information on all 3 of my blogs and respond back. I believe you will find the information to be overwhelming!!
Rev. Roosevelt Higgs – Word Press
Rev. Roosevelt Higgs – Triad Blogs
Rev. Roosevelt Higgs – Blogspot.com