WATCH: N&O documentary explores complicated history of racial tension in Alamance County

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Sunday, May 23, 2021
WATCH: N&O documentary explores racial tension in Alamance County
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In "Sound of Judgment," the News and Observer explore Graham, North Carolina's bloody past and uncertain future.

GRAHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The News and Observer's "Sound of Judgment" offers the rare view into the fight for racial justice in the small town of Graham and its history of conflict over race, police and power.

The story and documentary highlight pivotal moments in Alamance County's history, such as the murder of Wyatt Outlaw. Outlaw was a formerly enslaved person who rose to prominence after the Civil War, owning a shop in Graham and was the town's first Black elected official. In 1870, the Ku Klux Klan came for Outlaw and hanged him from an elm tree. Republican Gov. William Holden declared Alamance County in insurrection, sent in soldiers to quell the revolt and was impeached for his actions.

40 years later, Alamance County citizens gathered in front of the Graham courthouse to dedicate the Confederate monument.

After the death of George Floyd in 2020, Sheriff Terry Johnson reviewed the Graham protest ordinance and banned protests on territory under his direct control, which include the grounds surrounding the courthouse and Confederate monuments.

During a march to the polls in October 2020, some demonstrators were pepper-fogged. 20 people were arrested, including leaders of the march. The sheriff said arrests were made due to the event permits being violated.


This story was co-produced by The News & Observer and ProPublica as part of ProPublica's Local Reporting Network program.