Local News

Durham Racism

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David Smith (L) and Kenneth Spaulding
DURHAM — Racism affects us all, and it affects us all emotionally. We all havedifferent ways of reacting to it and different ways of handling it. Throughout the Triangle people have marched through the street againstracism. They pray and sing against it in the churches. Now two men in Durham want to make a concerted effort to stop racism once and for all.

One of the men, David Smith, is the chairman of the conservative whitegroup Friends of Durham.

The other man, Kenneth Spaulding, is the chairman of the Durham Committeefor the Affairs of Black People.

Smith and Spaulding represent two groups that have been adversaries foryears but are becoming allies in the war on racism. The two men signed adocument called the Memorandum of Understanding. It acknowledges thatracism is a clear and present issue that has greatly tarnished Durham'simage.

"There is too often animosity shown or expressed between the races inDurham," said Spaulding.

Events like the recent school board superintendent election and the searchfor a new city manager were racially divisive, giving the image that the city is racially polarized. Spaulding and Smith add racism has alsoaffected real estate and business, with newcomers being told to overlookDurham and settle in other cities.

The memorandum looks good on paper. It is a 14-point document that tooksix months to put together. Smith and Spaulding will be trying to dosomething about this within the next 30 to 60 days. They are inviting themedia, citizens, clergy and political leaders to get involved in the dialogue on racism.

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