Thank you for the Feb. 11 edition which took on the issue of race relations in our community on the front page and in your editorial. You certainly said a lot of things that needed to be said — mainly that The Washington Post’s attempt to characterize our community as some kind of racist backwater is unfair.
You also were right to recognize Asheboro Mayor David Smith and the City of Asheboro for leadership in unequivocally and strongly condemning the Ku Klux Klan. But it seems that you may have overlooked some other matters that should have been addressed in dealing with race relations here. For instance, why were Mayor Smith and Congressman Walker the only office-holders to come out against the Klan and its proposed cross-burning? Why were our county commissioners silent?
Last March, I sent a message to David Craven, chair of the county Republican Party, in which I said, “Dave, as you probably know, the KKK plans to assemble in Asheboro on May 6, or so I have been told. I believe that our party, which has fought the Klan since the 1860s, should issue a strong statement indicating that … Republicans hate the Klan’s ideology and its tradition of racism, intolerance, violence and murder. As leader of our party, you are the man to lead on this, don’t you think?”
Mr. Craven said that he would honor my request, but he never did. Silence can be more telling than a thousand words. I am not intimating that Mr. Craven or the commissioners are racist. They are not. There is a huge difference between being racist and being gutless.
In the early ’60s, race relations here were not good. Local black people demonstrated in public, demanding equality, as they should have. But during one demonstration on Sunset Avenue, a group of young white people gathered near the black demonstrators, which probably incited the blacks. Someone in the black group fired a shotgun into the crowd of whites. Not long after that incident, Asheboro formed a Bi-Racial Committee to deal with our race relations. I was honored to serve on that committee. It did a lot of good.
Maybe it is time for a Randolph County Interracial Committee. There are so many good people of all races here who deserve to have their local government deal intelligently with this very important subject.