the county news
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 through Tuesday, April 1, 2020
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 through Tuesday, April 1, 2020
Women's History Month
Bridget “Biddy” Mason
an Exceptional Black Woman
of the Old West
By Makheru Bradley
Makheru Bradley

Bridget “Biddy” Mason was born into Chattel Slavery on August 15, 1818. Some historical accounts say that she was born in Hancock County, Georgia while others say that she was born in Mississippi. After being sold several times, Mason, in 1836, became the property of a Mormon couple, Mississippi plantation owners Robert and Rebecca Smith.

Bridget Mason
The Smith’s followed a Mormon call to move west in 1847. They forced Biddy Mason and 13 other enslaved Afrikans to move with them. Mason, then age 32, walked 1,700 miles from Mississippi to Utah tending cattle behind her master’s 300-wagon caravan.

After four years in Utah, Robert Smith decided to move his family and his enslaved Afrikans to California, despite being warned that California had entered the Union as a free state, meaning Chattel Slavery was illegal there. Biddy Mason learned that she was being illegally enslaved through free Black people she met in California. More ↠

Celebrating Women Making History
Rev. Sonya McAuley Allen

Congratulations to Rev. Sonya McAuley Allen, who in July 2018 became the first female pastor at Harrisburg’s Bellefonte Presbyterian Church. She is happily married to a United Methodist minister serving a church in Rowan County.

Celebrating Salon Owner, the Late Mrs. Catherine Wright Simmons

By Fran Farrer
Fran Farrer
CHARLOTTE, NC – Catherine Wright Simmons was a woman raised by parents that instilled in her to not only know who she was, but who’s she was; with that she was told she could do anything she wanted to and have anything she wanted. And more importantly, according to her daughter, Linda, she was taught not to take mess from anyone including her children. Her daughter Linda soon found that out once she acquired her cosmetology license and thought she didn’t have to pay mom; that was a mistake – mom made her pay booth rent as well saying, it helps to build character and realize nothing worthwhile comes free.

The proud owner of LaSalle Beautyette, Catherine lived by faith and determination. Watching the City of Charlotte host the annual Carousel Parade, she felt her professional cosmetologist should be allowed to wave to the citizens on a float as Caucasians did, and she fought the battle for two years before they consented; More ↠
Catherine Simmons
Mrs. Catherine Wright Simmons
Catherine Simmons
The first African American beauty shop owner to have a float in Charlotte's Carousel Parade
Supreme Court Rules Unanimously Against
Byron Allen’s Lawsuit Versus Comcast
By Makheru Bradley
SCOTUS conservatives and moderates agree with Comcast that Byron Allen has to prove that race was the sole factor not just a “motivating factor” when they decided not to carry Allen's cable channels.

Many people in the civil rights community feared that the conservative majority on the US Supreme Court would rule in favor of Comcast versus Bryon Allen’s $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit. They were surprised that the moderates on the Court agreed unanimously when the ruling was handed down on March 23.

The ruling sends the case back to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, saying Allen needs to meet a higher standard of racial bias for the lawsuit to move forward in federal court.
Byron Allen
Byron Allen
Attorneys for Comcast argued that Allen needed to prove that race was the sole factor in Comcast’s decision to not carry some cable channels owned by Allen’s
Entertainment Studios. Allen’s attorney argued that he only needed to demonstrate that race was a “motivating factor” for Comcast’s refusal, for the case to proceed.

Allen based his racial discrimination lawsuit on a section of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 which holds that Afrikan Americans must have the same right to contracts as whites. Allen’s lawyer Erwin Chemerinsky had acknowledged that he would eventually have to show that race was the sole cause for Comcast’s rejection of Allen. However, Chemerinsky argued “that it would be an ‘insurmountable burden’ to meet if plaintiffs have to prove that at the outset of the case, as they would not have the benefit of conducting depositions and discovery.”

Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the opinion for the Supreme Court: “Here, a plaintiff bears the burden of showing that race was a but-for cause of its injury. And, while the materials the plaintiff can rely on to show causation may change as a lawsuit progresses from filing to judgment, the burden itself remains constant.”

Byron Allen responded to the decision saying. “Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has rendered More ↠