Letters to the Editor: Darryl Hunt and Rag Baby

Letters to the Editor: Darryl Hunt and Rag Baby
March 17
00:00 2016

Thank you for covering event about Islamic faith in W-S

To the Editor:

Thank you Chronicle, especially T. Ramsey, for covering the “Contributions to Islamic Faith” community held at the Delta Fine Arts Center on February 20, 2016. The Triad Chapter of ACGG appreciated the extensive and comprehensive article.

The nominees who have actively been establishing the foundation of the Islamic Community in Winston-Salem for over 60 years glowed in their spirits for your attention given to their life’s work.

Only the Chronicle highlighted this historical event and its ongoing positive contributions to the city and the African-American community in particular.

Fleming A. El-Amin

Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator

American Coalition for Good Government

In love and sadness on the passing of Darryl Hunt

To the Editor:

This weekend [Sunday, March 13], North Carolina lost one of her foremost freedom fighters in the passing of Dr. Darryl Hunt. I along with the North Carolina NAACP family lost not only a freedom fighter, but also a former colleague, brother and friend. The state robbed Darryl of 19 years of his life by imprisoning him for a rape and murder he did not commit. The case goes down in infamy as one of the most thoroughly corrupt episodes in the saga of the deeply racist criminal justice system in our state. However, in his twelve short years out of prison, Darryl accomplished more good in the world than most can hope to in a lifetime.

Those who heard Darryl speak, or worked with him in the grass-roots, know that Darryl made sure his bondage was not in vain. In addition to committing his time and resources to building the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, where he worked with hundreds of formerly incarcerated men and women, and fought for the exoneration of others falsely imprisoned, he also led a life of prophetic witness to the rampant racism in police departments, district attorneys’ offices and the courts.

Darryl was there in 2009 to push through the Racial Justice Act, which the North Carolina NAACP and our HKonJ partners count as one of the greatest legislative victories for criminal justice in recent history. In 2010, he joined the staff of the North Carolina NAACP as the founder and director of the Anti-Death Penalty Project. He helped lead our efforts to defend the RJA as long as possible so that the cases could get into court before the extremists in the General Assembly gutted and repealed the bill.

When the damning report on the practices of intentional perjury emerged out of the SBI labs, Darryl traveled the state on our behalf educating the branches and communities on the “Swecker Report.” He led court “jury watches” during capital trials where we know black jurors are struck from the rolls at disproportionate rates. Ever since his first plenary in 2010, we’ve always reserved a spot for Darryl to speak at our State Convention.

And none of this is to mention his role as a national leader in innocence projects and movements. For his work, Duke University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2012.

Darryl was a wounded healer in the greatest sense. I can remember him often saying that he has forgiven those who put him in jail when they knew he was innocent, but he has not forgotten.

For Darryl, it was a spiritual matter. He would say that he did not know how to ask others or God for forgiveness if he was not willing to forgive those who imprisoned him. He was not going to let them imprison him again with bitterness. And neither would he let them keep him from fighting for justice.

Darryl traveled the nation and the world with his witness that injustice does not have the last word. For a generation of activists, Darryl was hope incarnate. Justice was his call-ing. Courage and love was his answer. We pledge to you brother Darryl, that your spirit lives on in each of us. Those you touched will touch others and others as we keep our hands on the freedom plow. Let it be so.

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II,

president of N.C. NAACP

Al McSurely, Former Legal Redress chair,

N.C. NAACP Rob Stephens, Former Associate Director,

N.C. NAACP Anti-Death Penalty Project

N.C. NAACP Staff, Executive Committee, Branch Leaders,

Members and Partners in the Forward Together Moral Fusion Movement

Rag Baby, a humorous glimpse into early black life in Winston-Salem

To The Editor:

Back in the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, most black people played numbers on the stock market (winning numbers were derived from these numbers) especially “butter and eggs” (a commodity). The money won helped put food on the table. For 2 cents you could win $8.00, for 5 cents you won $20.00 and for 25 cents you won $100.00.  My sister Rachel and her next door neighbor, Della, played every day. Every neighborhood had its own number writer. Their writer was a tiny little lady and they didn’t know her name. She was always bundled up like she had on too many clothes – two sweaters, extra scarves and jackets -so they called her “Rag Baby.”  Rag Baby was a good “numbers writer.” She was honest, prompt and if you “hit” the number on her book, the money was as good as already in your pocket. One lucky day both Della and Rachael had a 5 cent hit on Rag Baby’s book. Oh boy! $20.00 dollars each! They were overjoyed talking about what they were going to do with all that money. “Girl, we won’t go to Henry’s today. Let’s walk up on Liberty Street to the Meat House, I want some pig tails and kraut,” Rachel said. “I want some fried pork chops and Spanish rice,” Della said. “Lord, Lord I can taste it right now.”

After talking a while, Della said, “Wait a minute, Rachel. What’s holding Rag Baby?  She should have been here by now, it’s getting late. I believe I’ll run around to her house and pick up my $20.00 dollars; you want me to bring yours?” Rachel said, “Yes, I’ll be dressed by then and we’ll walk up to the Meat House.”

Rag Baby lived a block away on the corner of 14th street and Cameron Avenue. After about 10 minutes, Della was running and , “Open the door quick, Rachel, Lord have mercy, let me in!! “

“What’s wrong?  What happened Della?”

“Oh Lord, Rag Baby dead!!”

What? Let’s go up there before anybody comes to see if we can find her pocketbook and get our $20.00, come on let’s go!!”

They ran around the corner, too late!! The police had already come in and nobody could come in and nobody could leave the house until the coroner could come and examine the body. The coroner came and examined the body and said that she had died of natural causes. Nothing was in the newspaper about it. At that time nothing was printed about black people too much.

Her family came up from South Carolina and carried her home for burial. We never knew her name, just Rag Baby.

Adeline Hodge

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