In what can be interpreted as a slap at the Wake County school board majority, Gov. Bev Perdue has awarded one of the state's highest awards to the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP.
As noted in the online article by Anne Blythe, Perdue presented the Order of the Long Leaf Pine to Barber on Saturday. He was praised for his work with education and building coalitions to fight for equality.
Much of Barber's recent work has been organizing opposition to the end of the socioeconomic diversity policy in Wake County. Barber, who has been arrested twice at school board meetings, filed the complaint that's leading to a special accreditation review of Wake's high schools.
The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is given to North Carolina residents in recognition of a proven record of service or some other special achievement. State employees with more than 30 years of service in North Carolina also get the award.
The recipient receives a certificate and the privilege of proposing, at any time, the North Carolina Toast.
As of 2009, more than 13,600 people had received the award, roughly half under the terms of Govs. Jim Hunt and Mike Easley.
This isn't the first time that Perdue has honored Barber.
In June, Perdue told the N.C. Black Legislative Caucus she applauded every single thing Barber is doing. Also at that meeting, Perdue declared that North Carolina is in a "war" over school resegregation.
Perdue has been steadily increasing her criticism of the new Wake school board majority. Among her other recent actions was to sign a law creating a legislative study commission on school diversity that has largely been seen as being targeted at Wake.