In the nearly 40 years that Bill Bell has lived in Durham, N.C., he's never experienced the horror he felt after hearing that several cross burnings had occurred in the relatively progressive community he's overseen as mayor since 2001.
Even during his first few days in Durham, which came on the heels of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Bell told BlackAmericaWeb.com, racial tensions were kept to a minimum.---Durham Mayor
I accidentally drove into North Carolina in 1963. I was trying to find Wakefield, Virginia which turned out to be just off the North Carolina line. As I crossed in the State I was greeted by a 15-ft billboard saying, with pictures, "You have just entered Klan Kountry.'
I availed myself of the VERY first opportunity to make a u-turn.
In 1968, I was offered a job at University Triangle in Durham (with the newly forming USEPA). I hesitated expressing my concern for The Klan. I related the story of my search for Fairfield.
The recruiter said, 'Oh you don't have worry you with live in University Triangle. It's a very cosmopolitan place.'
I said, 'All day?"
And the mayor has been living there since 1965, and doesn't know why???