Note: For a copy of the original Press Release on the NAACP Letterhead please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
April 3, 2015
Contact: Rev. Andre’ D. Knight, President, (252) 544-2949
Rocky Mount NAACP Expresses Concern Over County Line Merger Proposals
Rocky Mount, NC – “Publicly funded education has always been at the core of discourse, dialogue, legislation and judicial action in the United States and in the South since Reconstruction,” Rocky Mount Branch President Andre’ Knight stated. “And in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe and Nash counties, this discussion has always incorporated race and racial implications. We know that when the 1992 merger occurred between the three school systems, our region was still struggling openly with race relations, economic growth and prosperity and a need to upgrade the physical structures of schools. Basically, our legislators carried out the will of a broad coalition composed of a diversity of all citizens in the region. Our school merger was Rocky Mount’s statement to North Carolina that we were attempting to move forward and build a world class education system that would help propel our region forward.”
Knight continued, “The NAACP’s question to the Nash County Commissioners is ‘why do you want to split Rocky Mount and separate our two counties when we have been working hard to come together as a region and create a dynamic future together?’ We have outstanding citizens in our region that are working hard to make the Rocky Mount region a great place to live for everybody, regardless of race, ethnicity, orientation or heritage. This regressive argument to dismantle our system is not even fully bolstered by the County Commissioners own study. We welcome the opportunity for public dialogue so that we can ask the Nash County Commissioners directly why they feel that the time is now to end our collaboration.”
“The greater question that people are wondering throughout all of Rocky Mount, is why do the Nash County Commissioners feel that they are not responsible for the upkeep of public education facilities in the Nash/Rocky Mount system? They are sitting on a $40 million cash reserve that all citizens in this region have helped to build while they are allowing black, white, brown, red and yellow children to sit in inadequate facilities in Rocky Mount and throughout Nash County. They are forcing the Nash/Rocky Mount School Board to shut down schools in communities and create patchwork facility upgrades to schools throughout the City and the County just because they refuse to fund their responsibility. There are many factors that the NAACP is questioning about the leadership, integrity and intentions of the Nash County Commissioners as it relates to investing resources for all children they are responsible for in our public education system,” Knight said.
Knight added that “we will not be intimidated and keep silent about race and economics when we see contemporary elected officials espousing old, destructive ideas and are spewing the same rhetoric of segregationists from another era. County line merger was a bad idea then and is a bad idea now. This proposal is yet another attempt that forces us to fight these old battles of yesteryear instead of working together to move our region forward. County line merger revives the spirit that was pervasive in this region from the defunct Pearsall Plan of the 1950s. Our region has grown, the country has grown and our people have grown beyond old, divisive tactics and solutions that create more problems than they solve. Our Nash/Rocky Mount Schools are performing better than they have in many, many years even in the face of regressionist and shifting state policies and intentionally minimal funding from the Nash County Commissioners.”
Knight concluded that “while we might have a difference of opinion on how some decisions have been made concerning the closing of O. R. Pope Elementary School and the recent activities related to the KKK-inspired social media postings, we are supportive of the members of the School Board that want to keep our District in its present form. The leadership of the Rocky Mount NAACP desires to work with Superintendent Jackson and the Nash/Rocky Mount School Board to continue to transform our region into a world class and nationally renowned area.”
The NAACP will continue to follow developments as they occur and inform the public of any meetings or town hall opportunities to learn more as information is released.