CARTHAGE — Years ago, discrimination kept many out of one North Carolina town. But now, decades later, the town's borders are changing. Tne community of Carthage is doing what many there say should've been done a long time ago.
When you think about how much has changed in the last 100 years, it's staggering. In Carthage, you might be surprised at what has stayed the same. The town borders have gone unchanged for a century.
Those borders, drawn years ago, exclude black neighborhoods.
"We have residents who've been on the outside of town for years who really are a part of the town except for in name only," says town manager Bob Boyette.
Those residents live in the Needmore section and the Dowd Street section. Last month, the town annexed Dowd Street, and it plans to annex Needmore next spring.
Milton Dowdy grew up in Needmore. He's a town public works employee who has worked tirelessly for annexation. Dowdy believes the excluded neighborhoods have been treated like a step-child. Going into the 21st century, he believes it isn't right for any neighborhood to be excluded.
There's also a practical side to annexation. Services. One local church is not inside the town limits. Its members wanted to develop a head start program, but couldn't because its water didn't meet standards.
Annexation will mean garbage pick-up, better police protection and street lighting, things many people agree are overdue and will make life better for those who were left out.
The town of Carthage has received a grant to help pay for water and sewer hook-ups. That way, the people who are annexed won't have to pay for it.