Monday, August 12, 2013

Clash within the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People exposes need for unity

“You printed lies Carl Kenney,” Victoria Peterson blurted with a rage that forced everyone to take notice.  “I didn’t say what you wrote, and you used my picture.”

I wasn’t surprised by the emotions that led Peterson to that moment of fury.

“I have him Jackie. Carl Kenney is here,” she continued while placing Jackie Wagstaff on the speaker phone.

Wagstaff remained silent as Peterson lashed out for the blog that exposed a recorded conversation she had with an informant.  She named a person believed to be behind the recording.  I never mentioned the person’s name.

I offered her space to rebuttal.  She shouted.  She barked loudly as customers at the Market Street Coffeehouse attempted to focus on work.  I asked her to discuss the matter outside.  She refused to listen.

Anger ruled the moment.

Then I walked away.

Before departing, I attempted to share why I decided to post the blog. I told her the conversation was taped. I told her there is no disputing it’s her voice. I told her I had an obligation to report the story.

Then came the storm. 

It began with a few dark clouds and intermittent rain.  The drops of rain became heavier as the day passed until the madness of it all felt like a hurricane blended with the shaking of the earth.

The hardest part is determining the place to start.  There is no perfect place. One simply has to dive in and fight to get back to the shore after the sharks in the water come to gobble your soul.  The lessons learned after sharing Peterson’s recorded conversation are deep and painful.  The aftermath of it all exposes internal wars within the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People.  It’s harrowing to watch it all unfold.

It’s out of control. It’s hard to move forward when so many people are throwing stones.

The Rev-elution comment from that blog reflects a culture that justifies ceaseless stone throwing.  It’s hard to imagine that progress can be made when so much energy goes into launching big rocks at the integrity of those fighting the same battle.  How can you fight the enemies that hinder progress while invested in fighting those in the same camp?

“How can someone who has no car, no home, owns no property and has NO JOB be the freaking POLITICAL CHAIR of an organization with the National Clout as The Durham Committee? I blame the idiots that voted Wagstaff in for this nonsense,” an anonymous reader posted.

“Ask Jackie Wagstaff for her resume. She has not had a pay check from an employer since leaving the school board. As for the post regarding no home, she lives with Donald who supports both his mother and brother since they are both unemployed and did not finish their degrees at Central. The Durham Committee needs membership dues!!!!,” another anonymous reader posted.

The attacks intensified as time passed.

“Ask Danita Johnson about Jackie's wheeling and dealing. The poor lady tried to give Jackie a work opportunity with her nonprofit (feeding homeless ppl over off of Main St) and got stabbed in the back. Or ask Stella Adams about Jackie's loyalty. Jackie calls Danielle her daughter, but was out pushing Republican Kelly Smoke over Danielle Adams. Why does Jackie always meet new friends for about a year and then they always become enemies? Is everyone wrong except Jackie Wagstaff. Flee this woman like a plague!” an anonymous reader posted.

Things then shifted to an attack on the person or persons posting as anonymous.

“Mr. Anonymous commenter (we all know who you are) -- let's get some things straight: The Durham Committee is a nonpartisan organization. For years the organization has had Republican members and has endorsed Republicans at all levels. Your attempt to make this a Democratic vs. Republican partisan issue shows how limited your view and history of the organization is and, furthermore, is indicative of the type of divisive political posturing that our community no longer needs,” the anonymous reader attacking the comments of an anonymous readers post responds. “You should go focus on your numerous legal issues (fraud, illegal practice of law, identity theft and more) instead of focusing your energies on the business of the Durham Committee.”

Are members of the Durham Committee using the Rev-elution to bicker among themselves?

“I was going to stay out of this until the last poster attempted to bring my fellow church member and his past into this discussion (a young man that I have witnessed doing more good than a lot of self-proclaimed leaders in Durham). I could personally care less about anyone's old charges (that even includes Ms. Wagstaff, who has committed multiple felonies and fraud while in elected office, as a seasoned adult, not as a college student),” an anonymous reader writes in response to an anonymous reader’s attack of an anonymous reader.

"My fellow church member"...give it up...we know you're talking about yourself. The real issue is that you have a felon, convicted of obtaining property by false pretenses and 8 larceny (theft) and worthless check convictions, in charge of the Durham Committee's biggest fundraiser,” an anonymous reader claims that Mr. Anonymous is Darius Little, The Durham Committee’s Vice-Chair of the Civic Committee.  “I'd be concerned for all the folks giving checks to someone who has a record spanning more than 10 years of stealing and other crimes related to money and fraud.”

There’s more, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide if it’s worth reading.

So, what’s the point behind the mudslinging and ditch digging with anonymous as a signature to hide the rest?  Is this the type of antics that illustrates the work of the Durham Committee?  Are we to assume that those making comments are Durham Committee members and that this type of bombast is normative among those gathering to uplift Durham’s black community?

If so, we are in serious trouble.

If so, all players should be disciplined for behaving like children.

There are a few strong leaders in the room that can call a truce.  Send the children to the corner and let’s get back to the business at hand.

Stated another way, go back to kindergarten and learn what you should have been taught before going to the first grade.


  1. Good piece Carl. I'll post now. When I post, unlike others, I've never had a problem putting my name out there.

    The culture you've described is indicative of why those of us who are accomplishing good work in the community, have recently reached a boiling point in dealing with these shenanigans.

    As far as personal attacks, I could easily post pages of accusations with solid evidence against every individual named in this piece.

    I have nothing against Jackie Wagstaff. Jackie and I were very close when I first began to get engaged in Durham politics. My issue is with a sense of decorum, in order to be a professional organization.

    When Jackie Wagstaff's son ran for City Council who gave him $250.00? Yours truly, Darius Little. When Jackie Wagstaff has needed a ride and has texted me, who has driven across town to pick her up and help her get to The Durham Committee? Yours truly, Darius Little.

    When I'm giving people rides, doing what others want to do, spending my day helping folks pass out campaign fliers, buying people food and being a pushover, I am the best young adult under 35 on the planet.

    When I stand with Dr. Allison and others, simply asking that we have meetings without yelling, cursing, slamming tables and such nonsense, then my youthful transgressions become relevant.

    Those who know me, know that I could care less. I am a Child of God and I am an active member of countless organizations in Durham. I am active with the Durham Police Department, in PAC-4 and volunteer at our local elementary schools, during the school year, 2-3 times a week. I mentor young black boys, I help pay people's light bills, I am active in my church as a Missionary; visiting the sick and shut-in, praying with people, etc. These activities will never make a newspaper.

    So Carl, when I see adults who are old enough to be my grandparents attacking me, when their children have engaged in similar past activity, in youthful misjudgment, I laugh. I'm far more successful than the children of my critics.

    And folks, I wear my life story as a badge of honor.

    I've raised more money for The Durham Committee than anyone not named Dr. Lavonia Ingram Allison, so hate on me all you want.

    This guy under 35 years old gets results. And unlike a lot of people who attempt to use The Durham Committee to build-up themselves, I come to uplift The Durham Committee by contributing to it.

    And there is not one, I repeat, not one individual under 35 that has served this darn community more than I.

    I've now, finally responded.

    I won't be back here. Have a wonderful day Carl and continue preaching truth.

    Yours in Appreciation,

    Darius Little

  2. I'm sure you've commented on this blog numerous times anonymously Mr. Little. You aren't fooling anyone. From what we know (through text messages that have gotten out), you've been one of the main conspirators in this drama that is occurring within the Durham Committee and it's sad. I feel bad for y'all's organization.

  3. "And folks, I wear my life story as a badge of honor." How about all those worthless checks you dribbled around town that got you 10 months in the slammer? You wear those, too? How about the landlord in Chapel Hill you defrauded in 2006 by skipping out? The car(s) you had reposessed? You are one class act Darius Little. But not a very good con man.

    1. How about the church members/nice folks Darius Little obtained money from in Durham but refused to pay back. Moreover, he never even showed up for court. For proof check the court records in the Durham County Court House. " I think Durham Black leadership should be more prayerful and careful about the caliber of people they put on the frontline to represent the community.