Some skeptical of Raleigh leaders' apology for participation in slavery, segregation: 'Just words.'

Jamiese Price Image
Thursday, July 6, 2023
Raleigh apologies for city's participation in slavery and segregation
In a resolution adopted Wednesday, Raleigh apologized for its participation in slavery and segregation that destroyed black communities in Raleigh.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- In a moment of reflection at an afternoon city council session, the City of Raleigh apologized for the city's racist past.

In a resolution adopted Wednesday by the city council, Raleigh apologized for its past participation in slavery, segregation, enforcing Jim Crow laws, and implementing urban renewal programs that destroyed black communities in Raleigh.

Kara Sanders is a longtime resident of Raleigh. She said the apology doesn't feel sincere.

"I think it was a way to like placate people who this looks good for and feels good for," said Sanders.

"It can't be genuine. Why would you even open that door for criticism," she continued.

RELATED | Rediscovering the history of Raleigh's Black neighborhoods

We met Sanders outside of the city municipal building after she addressed the city council Wednesday night on a different matter.

"Without action, they're just words."

She said with an apology, there's an expectation of changed behavior. "Why would you apologize for a racist past when we clearly see that there's a lot of gentrification going on and people are losing their homes," Sanders continued.

Sommer Wisher works with underserved communities in Raleigh. Wisher said an apology is just one part. "Words are words, and they're great, but without action, they're just words."

The resolution also encourages city leaders to formulate projects and proposals aimed at promoting equality. The city administration is also called to explore the root causes of poverty and address the unmet needs of the African American community impacted by the city's racist past.

"Repairing something that has taken place for far too many years, is going to be really hard to undo. I think that without appropriate action and legislation and changes in mindsets. I don't know how you can undo such a long history of injustice," continued Wisher.

Effort ongoing to record the untold Black history at Raleigh's Dix Park

Other North Carolina cities and counties have adopted similar resolutions including Durham, High Point, and Orange County.

Segregation and racist deed covenants kept Black families, newly freed from slavery, from buying or renting in Raleigh proper.

WATCH | Thousands of racial covenants found in Durham housing deeds

or the last three years, dozens have worked on the project coined 'Hacking History'. The team has shifted through hundreds of thousands of deeds and found racist language in deeds for homes and even cemeteries.