Members of the NAACP’s Pitt County branch and other civil rights advocates are taking their call to free a man who they say was wrongly convicted to today’s Moral March in Raleigh.
The 13th annual Historic Thousands on Jones People’s Assembly, also called the Moral March, is promoting the theme of “No Time to Stand Down: We Must Stand Strong & Endure.”
For Pitt County branch President Calvin Henderson, that means keeping Dontae Sharpe’s story in the forefront.
“A young black male was wrongfully sentence by Pitt County judicial system and has been in prison,” Henderson said. “The Pitt County Branch of the NAACP along with N.C. State NAACP will be asking our newly elected (District Attorney Farris Dixon) through this movement to do the right thing, and that is to free Dontae Sharpe.’”
Sharpe was convicted in 1995 of shooting and murdering George Radcliffe. A young woman who testified that said she saw Sharpe shoot Radcliffe recanted the story two years later.
Sharpe’s case was the subject of an episode of “Final Appeal” a series the Oxygen Network.
“We want a democracy that protects the rights of all. Where we are truly one nation under God with liberty and justice for all,” Henderson said. “This is what the movement means to me and the Pitt County Branch of NAACP. We are ‘Forward Together and Not One Step Back.’”
The HKonJ People’s Assembly Coalition is made up of the more than 125 North Carolina NAACP branches, youth councils, and college chapters from across the state and members of more than 200 other social justice organizations to focus attention on how the state treats the poor and the political processes in the state.
Participants advocate for well-funded and diverse public schools, livable wages and support for low income people, health care for all, improved elections, the need for affordable housing, allowing collective bargaining for public employees and other topics.
Other local groups traveling to Raleigh are the East Carolina University Chapter of the NAACP, Coalition Against Racism and faith based groups, Henderson said.
Groups with gather in Raleigh beginning at 8:30 a.m. A rally at the corner of Wilmington and South streets near Shaw University will begin at 9 a.m. and the march starts at 10 a.m.