In the 1990s and 2000s, North Carolina offered an exciting vision for the South: voting reforms dramatically increased black voter turnout, North Carolinians voted for Barack Obama in 2008, and in 2009 the state passed the Racial Justice Act (later repealed). Many folks viewed North Carolina as a state that had the potential to remain distinctly Southern without perpetuating the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow. This all changed in 2012, when a new government re-imagined Jim Crow poll taxes and literacy tests to make voting extremely difficult for black and brown people, immigrants, elders, and students. Moral Monday activists are fighting back against these unjust laws and hoping to put North Carolina back on track. This article explains how the events in North Carolina today parallel those in 1965 Alabama.
“Winston-Salem—On the first day of the federal trial challenging North Carolina’s new voting restrictions, thousands of voting-rights activists marched through downtown Winston-Salem. They held signs reading, ‘North Carolina Is Our Selma’ and ’50 Years After Selma Voting Rights Still Matter.’“