01/09/07 — NAACP leaders honor Al King for his work as first black mayor of Goldsboro

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NAACP leaders honor Al King for his work as first black mayor of Goldsboro

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 9, 2007 1:49 PM

Al King doesn't expect praise. It's honor enough being mayor of Goldsboro.

But when the Rev. William Barber used Monday night's City Council meeting as the venue at which to present King with an award from the NAACP, the mayor smiled.

With the new year now moving into full swing, Barber said it was important to single out King for his accomplishments and for helping advance blacks in Goldsboro through the shining example he sets.

"This is for your great leadership and for being the first African-American elected mayor of this city," Barber said. "(Blacks) only represent 8 percent of the elected officials (in the state)."

King's election to mayor is a "great step forward" for blacks in the city and state, he added.

The pastor and head of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP also thanked the other members of the council and city residents for their warm hospitality during the NAACP's state conference, recently held at the Raleigh-Goldsboro District Assembly.

"Some folk predicted we would have a couple hundred registered," he said. "I want you to know that right here in this city, we had one of the largest conferences of the NAACP that has been held, not only here, but in North Carolina. We come tonight to say thank you. It was right that we were here in Goldsboro."

King was one of the people who helped make the event a success, Barber added -- showing up to speak on numerous occasions during the conference and working with city staff to ensure group members needed no additional assistance.

"I want to thank you," King told Barber. "I want to thank you for bringing the conference to this city when you could have had it anywhere. But you chose Goldsboro."

Barber also used the platform Monday to announce that today, alongside leaders from other organizations, he will make a call to action at a 2 p.m. press conference outside the Legislative Building in Raleigh.

Barber and members of the North Carolina Justice Center, General Baptist State Convention, People of Color Coalition and more are expected to rally support for the NAACP's 14-point agenda, he said -- one that aims to eliminate resegregation, improve the quality of schools in the state and provide quality health care for all.

The hope of those gathered today is to organize a rally Feb. 10 in downtown Raleigh, the Historic Thousands on Jones Street.

"We're calling for a massive number of grassroots, everyday folks to come together around this agenda," Barber said.

The goal of the rally is to bring in between 50 and 100 people from each of the state's 100 counties. Once gathered, the group intends to promote the NAACP's 2007 agenda and demand action from leaders at the capitol.