Banners and signs show the diversity of the Feb. 8 march in Raleigh.
Photo: Thomas Parsons
Annually, the NAACP in North Carolina holds a march known as the Historic Thousands on Jones Street under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II. The march is situated near the center of downtown Raleigh near Shaw University, with major bank skyscrapers positioned less than five blocks from working-class homes. This year the march fell on Feb. 8. Building on the momentum of the weekly "Moral Monday" protests in Raleigh, the "Moral March" drew an unprecedentedly large crowd.
To handle the large influx of people coming to this event, the NAACP ran trams to ferry protestors to the march assembly site. The diversity of the march was staggering, with at least four major focus groups being immediately visible from any point in the protest. Activists for LGBTQ rights and women's health, progressive Christians, voting rights and civil rights activists, and people representing several other issues were present to fight against the oppressive government of North Carolina. It was immediately clear that the people of this state and beyond are being attacked on all fronts, and those attacks have caused a powerful reaction.
The density of the marchers was staggering. USA Today estimates that between 80-100,000 people were mobilized, mostly from North Carolina, but some from beyond. It is being called the largest NAACP protest since the Selma to Montgomery marches in the 1960s.