Dominion of New York

Social Justice

May 16, 2012

Urban Blacks Largely Rejected Anti-Gay Amendment One

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Written by: Kelly Virella
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Reverend William Barber was one of the minister's leading the opposition to Amendment One.


ne hundred black ministers in North Carolina formed a coalition urging people to vote for the state’s Amendment One in the run-up to last week’s the election. The defense of marriage amendment passed, of course, with 61 percent of the vote. But there was one group of black North Carolina voters who did not all heed the minister’s directive. Urban black voters largely voted against the amendment, according to an analysis by The American Prospect. The magazine reports:

In each of North Carolina’s five largest cities, voters in majority-black precincts rejected the measure: Charlotte (52 percent), Raleigh (51 percent), Greensboro (54 percent), Winston-Salem (55 percent), and Durham (65 percent). Durham’s results were dramatic: Not a single majority-black precinct supported the amendment. Several crushed it by margins of 3-to-1 and even 4-to-1.

The magazine challenges the narrative that black voters are to blame for the passage of defense of marriage laws. The article argues that the fault line in North Carolina was not racial, but urban versus rural.

Yet even in rural areas some majority  black precincts rejected the amendment, the article says.

The amendment failed 2-to-1 on the African-American side of Scotland Neck, a village that has witnessed forty years of civil-rights struggles stretching from a landmarkschool-desegregation case in the 1970s to the recent stun-gun death of a black bicyclist. The result, says former Mayor James Mills, is an “organized and sophisticated” black electorate. “We were able to communicate was that this really had nothing to do with same-sex marriage,” he says. “What this has to do with is hate.” The measure also failed, albeit narrowly, in a black precinct of nearby Warren County, where in the 1980s hundreds were arrested during protests against a PCB landfill that sparked some of the earliest discussions about environmental racism.


About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.


Official portrait from his tenure as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.