D.G. Martin

One on One: Will Trump remember Washington on Presidents’ Day?

Will President Donald Trump remember George Washington when we celebrate Presidents’ Day next week? Here is some help for him with thoughts from a column I wrote earlier. When I was growing up, February 22, Washington’s Birthday, was a major holiday. Its replacement, Presidents’ Day, just does not have the same personal connection. There are no longer cherry pies or axes to help us remember the legends of his honesty and character. Washington’s name is still everywhere.  In a general way, we remember that he was great.  Our nation’s capital is named after him.  His face is on dollar...

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One on One Emmett Till lives on

“America is still killing Emmett Till,” writes Duke professor Timothy Tyson in his new book, “The Blood of Emmett Till.” Tyson revisits the 1955 kidnapping and brutal killing of Till, a 14-year-old black youth from Chicago visiting relatives in Mississippi. At a country store, Till’s encounter with an attractive white woman broke the “color code” and prompted her husband and brother-in-law to punish him. Tyson’s book gained immediate national attention because the woman changed her version of what Emmett Till had said and done to her in the encounter that led to Till’s murder. Carolyn Bryant Donham told Tyson...

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One on One: The Wilmington Ten and the Women’s March on Washington

“The case of the Wilmington Ten amounts to one of the most egregious instances of injustice and political repression from the post–World War II black freedom struggle. It took legions of people working over the course of the 1970s to right the wrong.” These opening words from Kenneth Janken’s book, “The Wilmington Ten: Violence, Injustice, and the Rise of Black Politics in the 1970s,” alert readers to the importance of the story he tells and to the passionate viewpoint from which he writes. In today’s times of Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March on Washington, why is the...

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One on One: Reading with Obama

What will our most recent former president be doing these next few weeks? Barack Obama will be reading and encouraging us to join him. In the week before he left office, he talked to The New York Times’ chief book reviewer, Michiko Kakutani, about the importance of books in his life. “At a time,” Obama told Kakutani, “when so much of our politics is trying to manage this clash of cultures brought about by globalization and technology and migration, the role of stories to unify–as opposed to divide, to engage rather than to marginalize–is more important than ever.” Obama explained why...

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One on One: Good Friends and Books Can Change Us

  Why have the attitudes of people in our state towards gay and transgender people changed so quickly and so dramatically? Before even trying to answer, I should acknowledge that many people have not changed so quickly and some have not changed at all. That said, there has been a dramatic and almost unbelievable change in many people, something you would not have predicted only a few years ago at the turn of the millennium. Why so fast? A powerful factor in changing our attitudes has been what we learned from people we came to know and admire. Whether...

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One on One: Lessons from Tillis for Speaker Moore

Can lessons learned in a successful effort to provide compensation for victims of state-sponsored sterilization help solve the problem HB2 (the “Bathroom Bill”) is causing North Carolina? In his recent book, “Rage to Redemption in the Sterilization Age: A Confrontation with American Genocide,” John Railey, editorial page editor at the “Winston-Salem Journal,” showed how a determined legislative leader can persuade colleagues to put aside opposition to legislation that would remove an ugly stain on North Carolina’s reputation. As Railey explains, during the last century, North Carolina had one of the nation’s most aggressive eugenics programs. It provided for the...

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One on One: Galifianakis – Nick or Zach?

Did you ever feel so let down after an election? Many North Carolina Democrats have been asking each other this question every day since they learned the results of the latest presidential election. Some old timers remember other times when they felt like they had been hit in the stomach by disappointing election results. There are still people around who remember the way they felt after the primary election in 1950 when the legendary progressive, former university and incumbent U.S. Senator Frank Graham lost his bid to keep his office. Others will tell you the empty feeling they felt...

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One on One: Books for New Year’s Reading

So, have you got something about reading more books on your list of New Year’s resolutions? If so, I have some help. Four different books, at least one of which will be right for you. A best-selling inspirational cookbook-memoir by North Carolina’s most celebrated woman these days. A novel set in contemporary times about a half-human, half-bull creature who tries to make his way as a blue-collar worker. A look back at the racial turmoil of the 1960s through the poignant experience of one of North Carolina’s greatest basketball stars, and a literary novel about a troubled marriage that...

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