You might have thought you were attended a 1960s civil rights protest instead of a Wake County school board meeting on Tuesday.
As noted in today's article, critics of the community-based school assignment resolution steeped their language and actions around themes that wouldn't have been out of place for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to have used.
The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, led many in the audience in singing "We Shall Overcome" during the meeting. Once the board recessed after the vote on the resolution, Barber led the crowd in "Don't Let Nobody Turn You 'Round," another civil rights anthem.
The crowd chanted "we're not going anywhere" and "never again."
"They didn't count on this kind of unity," Barber told the crowd and assembled media. "This isn't an NAACP issue, it's a community issue!"
Barber again reiterated the threat of taking legal action against the board for resegregating schools.
During the public comment section, retired Wake principal Samuel Greene referred to George Wallace, the Alabama governor and presidential candidate who loudly championed segregation during the 1960s.
“In the words of George Wallace, do you want your legacy to be segregation now, segregation forever?” said Greene, who had applied for the school board vacancy that was filled by Keith Sutton.
You can expect it to be even more emotional when the board holds the second vote on the resolution, probably on March 23.
"It's insulting to all the people who actually lived in the horrendous segregated schools to compare that to letting people simply stay in their neighborhoods," said Dallas Woodhouse, state director of the conservative Americans for Prosperity. "The idea that this is the battle of the '60s is ridiculous."
New school board member John Tedesco, who co-wrote the resolution, said critics were trying to "sensationalize" things and "rile people up" by using the 1960s civil rights language.
Click here for open letter that Barber sent Tuesday to Wake schoo board chairman Ron Margiotta.