County ProblemsForsyth, Guilford and Rockingham Counties
Rockingham, Guilford and Forsyth counties are three neighboring counties that offer an excellent location to hold a workshop. Not only are there numerous universities and progressive thinkers in the cities of Winston-Salem and Greensboro, but there are also many local governments in this area which do not provide sufficient representation to their ethnic and racial minority communities.
The Wilmington Area
A number of counties in this vicinity ñ New Hanover, Pender and Onslow ñ lack adequate ethnic and racial minority representation. Pender is the only one of these counties where under-representation at county commissioner level appears indisputable; it could be argued that the black populations in New Hanover and Pender are not large enough to merit county representatives. However, all three counties use similar at large methods of election for all county, school board and many city races, leading to similar problems and distortions within legislatures.
Pender and Onslow counties are both extremely rural. Both also have low median incomes. New Hanover is more developed. Wilmington is the largest city within the region, and would thus appear to be the best place to visit, although it itself has reasonable representation of ethnic minorities on the City Council. Wilmington is the site of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
New Hanover County
Nash, Johnston, Granville and Pitt
Another cluster of Counties that merits our attention is Nash, Granville, Pitt and Johnston. All have problems with minority representation to some degree. There are some considerable drawbacks to holding workshops in these counties, however. The counties are geographically dispersed, and all are very rural. Consequently, it might be hard to draw in a large enough audience to make a trip there worthwhile. Within the counties, there is no single obvious urban center.
Cumberland and Robeson Counties
Cumberland and Robeson counties probably offer the least convincing case of areas discussed. On a town level, there is some evidence of discriminatory voting systems in Cumberland. However, both the Board of County Commissioners and the School Board seem to represent all ethnic groups adequately. Robeson presents a slightly different set of issues. In addition to a black population, there is also a sizeable Native American presence within the county. Like Cumberland, there is no glaring evidence of current discrimination on a countywide level, although it is possible certain smaller communities would benefit from workshops. The largest city in the area, Fayetteville, has a university (Fayetteville State), and could be used as base.