GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
Whereas, the participation of African Americans as elected members of the North Carolina General Assembly constitutes a long and storied tradition; and
Whereas, the role of African American legislators in the lawmaking process is central to a full understanding of North Carolina history; and
Whereas, between 1868 and 1900, at least 111 African Americans served in the General Assembly and among that number were George H. White of Craven County and John A. Hyman of Warren County, both of whom, subsequently, were elected to the United States House of Representatives; Parker Robbins of Bertie County, who served in the Second United States Colored Cavalry during the Civil War; and Abraham Galloway of New Hanover County, who assisted the Union War effort and served as a spokesman for civil rights in the immediate postwar era; and
Whereas, public awareness of the contributions of these early pioneers in the political process, some of whom were born into slavery, is limited, and their roles in history are frequently obliterated; and
Whereas, the modern era of African American representation in the legislature opened after generations of nonrepresentation, beginning in 1968 with the election of Henry E. Frye of Guilford County, who subsequently became the first African American to serve as Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court; and
Whereas, Henry M. (Mickey) Michaux, Jr. of Durham County, first elected to the House of Representatives in 1973, has compiled more years of service in the General Assembly than any other African American; and
Whereas, representation by African American females in the legislature is a relatively recent phenomenon, beginning with the election of Annie Brown Kennedy of Forsyth County to the House of Representatives in 1978 and Jeanne Hopkins Lucas of Durham County to the Senate in 1992; and
Whereas, in recent years African American officeholders have risen to positions of prominence in the General Assembly, among them Daniel T. Blue, Jr. of Wake County, elected Speaker of the House of Representatives by his colleagues in 1991, and Frank W. Ballance, Jr. of Warren County, elected Deputy President Pro Tempore of the Senate in 1997; and
Whereas, the public good benefits from diversity, and democracy thrives only when all segments of society are represented; Now, therefore,
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:
SECTION 1. The General Assembly recognizes all former and present-day African American members of the North Carolina Legislature and honors their achievements and contributions toward realizing the goal of a fair and equitable society for all North Carolinians.
SECTION 2. The Secretary of State shall transmit a certified copy of this resolution to the African Americans currently serving in the General Assembly.
SECTION 3. This resolution is effective upon ratification.