04/08/04 — Commissioner Flowers questions Barber's organization

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Commissioner Flowers questions Barber's organization

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on April 8, 2004 2:05 PM

Is one of the most vocal critics of racial imbalance in Goldsboro schools contributing to the problem? That was the question raised Tuesday by Wayne County Commissioner Arnold Flowers.

Rebuilding Broken Places seems to be building inner-city neighborhoods that are mostly, if not entirely, for black residents, Flowers said.

"How many white families live on Harris Street?" Flowers asked the Rev. William Barber, the nonprofit agency's chairman.

Arnold Flowers


"I don't know," Barber said, adding, "Anybody can come into that project."

"You have 41 apartments. How many residents are white?" Flowers asked.

Barber said that he didn't know that number, either.

"What I am trying to say is that you've been outspoken on segregation," Flowers said. "But if you build a community and it's segregated, you're complicating the situation."

But Barber replied that Rebuilding Broken Places hasn't "built a segregated community; we've built houses and advertised them to everybody."

Archibald Black, the agency's executive director, said the agency is required to follow federal fair housing laws that would prohibit any discrimination.

"Black folks aren't the only ones we help," Black said. "We have to help anyone who comes through our door. That's what our faith tells us to do."

Barber and Black were at the commissioners' meeting for an update on Rebuilding Broken Places projects. The organization has built apartments for elderly people and homes for first-time home buyers.