The Anatomy Of The Moral Monday Movement
RALEIGH: The North Carolina NAACP’s Moral Monday protests began with just 17 arrests in the first rally in late April. Now nearly 600 have been arrested speaking out against the right-leaning NC General Assembly. New and seasoned protesters are preparing to converge in Raleigh once again for this week’s “Mass” Moral Monday. It’s the ninth protest so far taking place at 5 p.m. across from the General Assembly.
WCHL compiled a timeline of events since the first Moral Monday Movement to document the details of each week:
April 22: The Beginning of the “Civil Disobedience”
- NAACP State Chapter President Reverend William Barber called for action against the GOP majority in response to a voter identification bill moving through the House. Barber said the bill was just one of many in a wider agenda targeting the poor and minority voters.
April 29: Week One
– 17 arrested
- This was the first NAACP protest; Barber called it a non-violent “pray-in.”
- Bishop Larry Reid, pastor at the Cathedral of Hope Church in Carrboro; Dr. Timothy Tyson, a professor at Duke University; Vice President of the NC NAACP Reverend Curtis Gatewood; and Barber himself were among those first arrested.
- They were arrested on misdemeanor charges of second-degree trespassing, failure to disperse on command and violating building rules.
May 6: Week Two
– 30 arrested
– Running Total: 47
- Tye and Wanda Hunter of the United Church of Chapel Hill were arrested during this rally. Barber’s 20-year-old son, William Joseph Barber III; former Duke University Dean of Arts and Sciences, William Chafe; Duke Professor of Public Policy and History, Robert Korstad; and UNC historian Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, were also arrested.
May 13: Week Three
– 49 arrested
– Running Total: 96
Chapel Hillians of faith from the Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist, Binkley Baptist Church, and the United Church of Chapel Hill made the trek to Raleigh. This was when the name “Moral Monday” was introduced.
May 20: Week Four
– 57 arrested
– Running Total: 153
May 29: NAACP Rally Tour comes to Chapel Hill
- Locals gathered in front of the courthouse on Franklin Street for an NAACP rally. It was part of a 25- county tour to raise awareness for the growing efforts to protest the policies of the General Assembly.
- Speakers at the courthouse included Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton, Minister Robert Campbell, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, and members of the Raging Grannies.
May 27: The NAACP took a pause for Memorial Day
June 2: The 100th anniversary of the controversial confederate monument known as “Silent Sam”
- Reverend Barber joined the “Real Silent Sam Committee” on UNC’s campus to speak out against what they say the statue represented, which fell on the eve of Mega Moral Monday.
June 3: Week Five
– 151 arrested; *most arrested in a single Moral Monday
– Running Total: 304
- Dubbed “Mega Moral Monday,” Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton, Chapel Hill Town Council member Donna Bell, and Carrboro Aldermen Damon Seils, Michelle Johnson and Sammy Slade were among those arrested.
- The number of arrests nearly matched the combined total of 153 from the last four protests dating back to late April. Orange County Commissioners were also present at the demonstration, including Penny Rich, Mark Dorosin and Bernadette Pelissier.
June 7: Sen. Thom Goolsby, R- New Hanover, wrote an op-ed published in the Chatham Journal titled, “Moron Monday shows radical Left just doesn’t get it”
- The piece refers to Moral Monday protesters as “hippies” and “Loony Liberals.”
June 8: The Civitas Institute published a database of all those arrested during Moral Mondays
- Still featured in its website, the list included mug shots, party affiliations, cities of residence, and the “Pick the Protester” Game. Civitas Institute is a conservative think tank funded largely by the Pope Foundation, which has given it more than $8 million since its founding in 2005. Art Pope sat on the tax-exempt, nonprofit institute’s board of directors until Gov. Pat McCrory appointed him as State Deputy Budget Director.
June 10: Week Six
– 84 arrests
– Running Total: 388
- Clergy members from across North Carolina led this protest, despite a tornado watch and rain throughout the evening. Mia Burroughs and James Barrett, members of the Chapel Hill Carborro City School Board of Education, were in attendance.
June 10: Reports surfaced of NC Lawmakers calling the Moral Monday protesters “outsiders”
- “It’s my understanding that a lot of these people are from out of state. That’s the reports that we’re getting,” Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, said following the June 10 protest.
- “Outsiders are coming in, and they’re going to try to do to us what they did to Scott Walker in Wisconsin,” McCrory told The Associated Press.
June 12: First Witness Wednesday
- Eight people were arrested inside the state building, including Durham City Council member Steve Schewel.
- This event, organized by the NAACP, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers, while also continuing their fight against the Republican-led state government.
June 17: Week Seven
– 84 arrested
– Running Total: 472
- This protest focused on health care and environmental justice. Four members of the United Church of Chapel Hill were arrested, including nineteen-year-old Kira Frescoln, pastor Jill Edens, Reverend Susan Steinberg and Dave Otto.
- Sylvia Steere is the owner of Golden Age Bakery, a gluten-free bakery she operates out of her Chapel Hill home. Steere hand-delivered 170 cookies to every single legislative office in the State House and Senate.
June 24: Arrestees from first Moral Monday on April 29 appear in court
- NAACP legal advisor Irving Joyner said charges should be dismissed, arguing that the Constitution gives protesters the right to peacefully assemble on public property and address their legislators. District Court Judge Dan Nagle said his court handles only pleas or the assignment of attorneys, not hearings with witnesses. He subsequently assigned them September court dates, when the issue of dismissal will be heard.
June 24: Week Eight
– 120 Arrested
– Running Total: 592
- This “Mass” Moral Monday saw the largest attendance of all the NAACP’s rallies. General Assembly Police estimated more than 1,500 protesters. The rally focused on labor, women and economic justice issues.
- Those arrested include Chapel Hillian Fredy Perlman, Marybeth Powell of Carrboro, and state AFL-CIO President James Andrews. US Congressman David Price attended along with State Senator Ellie Kinnaird and Verla Insko. MSNBC and Fox News sent camera crews to cover the event.