Monday, July 29, 2013

Jackie Wagstaff removed as Chair of the Political Committee of the Durham Committee of the Affairs of Black People

The Executive Committee of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People has censured Jackie Wagstaff, chair of the groups Political Committee.  The decision came during an emergency Executive Committee meeting held on July 27th.

“The Executive Committee concluded that her behavior has been insubordinate, uncollaborative, extremely impolite and inappropriate for the setting of our meeting,” Randal Rogers, chair of the Durham Committee, stated in a press release.

The Executive Committee voted to suspend Wagstaff from participating in any activities of the Durham Committee as its Chair of the Political Committee and in representing herself as the Chair until a vote by the General Body.

Wagstaff has been criticized for actions during recent Durham Committee meetings.  Wagstaff has, on numerous occasions, questioned the input of members based on her assumptions of elitism.  Members of the Durham Committee say Wagstaff’s outbursts set the tone for a class divide within the Durham Committee.

Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr., vice-chair of the Durham Committee’s Political Committee, has assumed the role of Political Chair.  McKissick will preside over the interviews of candidates for Mayor and City Council to be held at the St. Joseph AME Church tonight through Wednesday.

The censure of Wagstaff is the first major move of Randal Rogers, chair of the Durham Committee.  Rogers became Chair after Philip Cousin moved to San Francisco to become pastor of Bethel AME Church.  Rogers, an unknown in local politics, is highly respected by members of the Durham Committee, and the move to censure Wagstaff has added to the credibility of his leadership.

Members of the Durham Committee say the move to oust Wagstaff is proof that the organization is headed in the right direction.  Many were not happy when Wagstaff was appointed to Chair the Political Committee, and efforts to remove her have been underway for months.

Outsiders criticized the Durham Committee for selecting Wagstaff.  The Rev-elution defended the Durham Committee’s right to select leaders they consider best to serve.  I argued that Wagstaff has a long history of activism and political involvement that more than qualified her for the position.

The Rev-elution’s position assumed a gentler more refined Wagstaff.  Comments came on the heels of a volatile campaign to elect commissioners to the Durham County Board of Commissioners and the controversial 751 project.  Wagstaff was said to be in the center of hostile exchanges at voting precincts that forced the Board of Elections to call a special meeting to address verbal abuse.

Roger’s decision to push for the censure of Wagstaff sends a message related to the internal affairs of the Durham Committee.  The organization no longer wants to be limited by the type of activity that has long defined the group.  The discord that has kept so many away has been challenged in a way that rekindles credibility to arguably the most powerful local black organization in North Carolina.

It is also notable that Rogers didn’t stray from informing the press of the decision to censure Wagstaff.  In the past, the Durham Committee has worked tirelessly to keep its affairs limited to membership.  As embarrassing as the censure of Wagstaff may be, the way it has been handled, and the willingness to communicate with the public, combines to send a strong message regarding the future of the Durham Committee.

It’s critical that Wagstaff not be demonized for her actions.  As controversial as she has been, Wagstaff is that rare leader in Durham.  She has carried the torch for the poor and maligned for a long time.  Her concerns are legitimate – we should never forget the needs and affairs of the least of these.  They too must be heard.  The flame that fuels Wagstaff is rooted in good intentions.

Maybe she has made assumptions.  That’s what happens to a person fighting for the marginalized.  Hopefully, a place can be found for Wagstaff to serve.  Maybe that will be with the Durham Committee.  Maybe her place is somewhere closer to those she knows best.

At the end of the day, Durham is made better because of the Durham Committee’s decision to find that place in the middle.  There’s far too much work to be done to limit things to the voices of a few.  The decision not to compromise unity has to be respected.  The decision to share it with the rest of Durham should be celebrated.

Watch out.  The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People is back!

We missed you.


  1. About time for someone to recognize the negative effects of Wagstaff in achieving Durham Committee goals. And kudos to Rogers for the new openness.

  2. All I can say is "WOW"!

  3. It is very disturbing to read this slander about Mrs. Wagstaff I may admit she has become a little dissatified with issues in the Durham Committee. She only does this because of her love and compassion for this distinquish organization. It is Chairman Randal Rogers and a few others in the Durham Committee who should be reprimanded. The entire executive committee was not involved in this censure. This man lacks the true inegrity and honesty to be impartial to all executive members, but a few. I beg to differ with Chairman Randal Rogers to turn the tables and bring the Durham Committee back to respectability in our illustrious city.Mrs. WAgstaff in the heart and soul of the Durham Committe.

  4. To say Ms. Wagstaff is the heart and soul of an organization that has existed for 78-years is an insult to every, single civil rights advocate that has ever walked on Durham County soil.

    Slander? There has been no slander. In-fact it is very pleasantly surprising to see The DCABP finally taking a stand for order and civilization.

    For the first time in Durham History, Ms. Wagstaff is not speaking to the press. Why is this? "J-Dub" not speaking out and up for herself?

    In her years as a member of The Durham Committee, it is very interesting that I have not found her name on one, single, donor sheet. This woman loves the organization so much, why has she not given 1-cent to the organization in the past 15-years of reporting I've gone through so far? She hasn't given a dime. Or as the folks in rural North Carolina say: she hasn't even give a damn plug-nickel.

    Ms. Wagstaff doesn't love the organization, she loves herself. Everything she does is to glorify self. She is a wanna-be, social outcast that is accepted nowhere. Her only option for social interaction is The Durham Committee: an organization that has no dues and only makes one requirement of its membership: to be alive, be in Durham and be black. The Durham Committee is her latest stop, after being rejected from everything else in Durham.

    Ms. Wagstaff can't operate within any structured organization. She is selfish, disruptive, insubordinate and a pain to deal with. Where is this lady even from? What type-of person would want to fight to hang around a group of people that clearly, do no like you, nor want to deal with you? Times must be mighty tough for a woman to be trying to fight for a position, a title. Why does this woman need a title so badly?

    When I look at The Durham Committee as a whole Jackie stands out like a sore thumb.

    She has become quite pathetic. To be slammed in the press, with solid evidence of having been kicked out of elective office, rejected by the Citizens of Durham as an incumbent for City Council and repeatedly rejected by most of black Durham and still, she wants to be upfront and seen, this really tells us something about this woman and her loser of a son.

    Everyone in Durham knows these people are deadbeat losers except them.

    Credit to The Durham Committee for finally having the guts to kicking out officers that are corrupt. Jackie Wagstaff is a paid operative with no integrity and this will be coming to light so keep your eyes open.

    This scoundrel is no victim.

    An almost 60 year old woman acting like a street thug. Let me know when they have the meeting and I'll be there to help throw her ass out of Durham County Line!

  5. Hi Anonymous commenter,

    Here are just a few facts about this so-called "loser of a son":

    -Product of Durham Public Schools (Hillside High School c/o 2005)
    -B.A. Economics, UNC-Greensboro
    -Masters of Public Administration from NCCU, Cum Laude
    -3+ years member of the Durham Workforce Development Board where I have worked with education, civic and business leaders to create jobs, put people back to work and provide workforce opportunities for adults and youth in Durham
    -Mentor, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Triangle
    -Candidate for local office, just over 200 votes shorts of winning election to the Durham School Board
    -2008 Delegate to the Democratic National Convention
    -2012 Delegate to the Democratic National Convention
    -Member of the North Carolina Democratic Party Stae Executive Committee, 2009-2013
    -Former Youth Committee Chair for the Durham Committee
    -Former member of the Durham Juvenile Crime Prevention Council
    -Former Durham County Democratic Party Precinct Chair

    Based on the style of your post (not difficult to identify), I am almost positive I know who you are, 'anonymous' poster. I hope your comments make you feel better about yourself, your own insecurities and your own jealousy.

    If you are going to post such vile and deliberately mean-spirited comments, at least have the courage to not post them anonymously.

    Loser of a son,

    Donald Hughes

  6. I am a supporter of Sister Jackie Wagstaff and I am disappointed in the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People's decision to silence her and relieve her from the responsibility of chairwoman of the political committee. Wagstaff like myself we are considered field 'Negroes' and often throughout so-called African American history, it has been Elitist House 'Negroes' who have had an interest of defending the master (the Field 'Negroes' advocated revolt, rebellion and nonconforming to the Masters rules on the plantation). Sister Wagstaff does not desire to play games with our enemies; she recognizes these are some serious times that we are living under. She is an activist, fighter and has always championed the causes of the black poor and disenfranchised. Many of these handkerchief head 'Negroes' are bent on protecting the status quo and desire to continue living petit-bourgeoisie life styles. The North Carolina radical right and Tea Party, as well as the reactionary agenda that is being established by Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina legislators are prime examples of an ‘old south’ and Confederate mentality (they are bent on turning the clock back); thus, we need a Jackie Wagstaff who is not afraid of addressing the real issues (which is ultimately fighting racism and white supremacy) and she cannot be bought by lobby groups. She has always been for the people and I cannot say that about many of the old guard that are permanent fixtures on the committee. I hope that black people do not allow these 'Uncle Tom' ‘Negroes’ to get away with silencing our sister and we must demand that she be allowed to continue her work and duties as the political chair of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People. These 'Negroes' running the Durham Committee are disgusting and many of them have no backbone; they just desire to please our modern slave masters.

    Stay Awake Until We Meet Again,
    Bro. Fahim A. Knight-El

  7. Knock Out Game! We should do more of that.

  8. You really should try to get out of the house now and then and go for a walk.