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Some North Carolinians Expect A Struggle Under Trump Administration

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Some North Carolinians Expect A Struggle Under Trump Administration

Some North Carolinians Expect A Struggle Under Trump Administration

Some North Carolinians Expect A Struggle Under Trump Administration

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/510128822/510128823" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Community organizers Jerry Anderson and his wife Paula McCoy Anderson opened The Village, a food market and community gathering place in Winston-Salem, N.C. Ari Shapiro/NPR hide caption

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Ari Shapiro/NPR

Community organizers Jerry Anderson and his wife Paula McCoy Anderson opened The Village, a food market and community gathering place in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Ari Shapiro/NPR

All Things Considered co-host Ari Shapiro is on a road trip leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump on Jan. 20. He is driving through North Carolina and Virginia, on the way to Washington, D.C. These are two swing states that went in opposite directions in November, each by a close margin: North Carolina for Trump, Virginia for Hillary Clinton. As the country faces dramatic changes, we're asking people what they want from that change — and what concerns them.

Paula McCoy Anderson and her husband, Jerry Anderson, live in Winston-Salem, which used to be a center of the U.S. tobacco industry.

The Andersons have always been community organizers. In the age of Trump, they've decided to focus on their own neighborhood. They opened a food market and community gathering place called The Village.

There are baskets of greens out front for $1.29 a pound. On the counter, there is a big jar of pickles and another of pig's feet. On a recent day, a jazz guitarist and singer are there entertaining the kids.

"You can look around in here. We've got white folk, black folk. We've all kind of folk up in here," Jerry Anderson says. "And what we're going to do is we're going to keep on setting an example of collaboration."

Paula and Jerry hired ex-offenders to do most of the work on this building, and that kind of reflects the way they are thinking about the next four years.

"We're talking about what we — what you can and cannot do. We cannot un-elect Donald Trump," Jerry says.

It's better to focus on things you can change, like improving your community, he says.

Nationally, Donald Trump got 8 percent of the black vote. In Winston-Salem, NPR spoke with a couple dozen black voters, and not one said they voted for Trump. A lot of people said they'd been here before — not specifically a Donald Trump presidency, but adversity is familiar. And they expect this administration to be one more kind of adversity.

Use the audio link above to hear the full story.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

in this week leading up to Donald Trump's inauguration, our co-host Ari Shapiro is driving through North Carolina and Virginia on the way to Washington, D.C. And Ari is on the line now. Hi there.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Hey, Kelly.

MCEVERS: So tell us why you picked this route.

SHAPIRO: We wanted to go through a couple of swing states on this road trip that made different choices in November. So North Carolina went for Donald Trump. Virginia went for Hillary Clinton. Both states were pretty close.

And you know, whether you support the new administration or oppose it, Republicans who are now going to control the House the Senate and the White House have promised some dramatic changes for the United States. And we want to know what people want from those changes, what concerns them about those changes.

And so that's a question that we're asking everybody we meet as we drive through these states. We're asking them, what are your hopes and fears for life under a Trump administration?

MCEVERS: Where are you starting this trip?

SHAPIRO: Well, our first stop is Winston-Salem, N.C. About a quarter million people live here. It used to be a center of the American tobacco industry. And since today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, this is a story about race and feelings in the African-American community about the road ahead.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SHAPIRO: Paula McCoy Anderson and her husband, Jerry Anderson, have always been community organizers. In the age of Trump, they've decided to focus on their own neighborhood. They opened a food market and community gathering place called The Village.

There are baskets of greens out front for $1.29 a pound. On the counter, there is a big jar of pickles and another of pig's feet. A jazz guitarist and singer are here entertaining the kids.

JERRY ANDERSON: You can look around in here. We've got white folk, black folk. We've all kind of folk up in here. And what we're going to do is we're going to keep on setting an example of collaboration.

SHAPIRO: Paula and Jerry hired ex-offenders to do most of the work on this building, and that kind of reflects the way they are thinking about the next four years.

J. ANDERSON: We're talking about what we - what you can and cannot do. We cannot un-elect Donald Trump.

SHAPIRO: Jerry says better to focus on things you can change, like improving your community.

OK, so I see in the corner you have a cardboard life-size cut-out of President Obama, and it says picture with the president. Is he still going to be there after Friday?

PAULA MCCOY ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely.

J. ANDERSON: Yeah, he'll be there. He'll be there.

P. ANDERSON: He'll be there for a while...

J. ANDERSON: (Inaudible).

P. ANDERSON: ...And as his legacy will be with this country for a while.

SHAPIRO: Nationally, Donald Trump got eight percent of the black vote. Here in Winston-Salem, we spoke with a couple dozen black voters, and not one said they voted for Trump. A lot of people told us, we've been here before - not specifically a Donald Trump presidency, but adversity is familiar. And they expect this administration to be one more kind of adversity.

Trump's Twitter fight with Congressman John Lewis over the weekend confirmed that for them. Lewis is a civil rights hero, and after he said he doesn't view Trump's presidency as legitimate, Trump tweeted that Lewis is all talk, talk, talk, no action or results.

COREY WALKER: John Lewis has done more than just talking, and I think President-elect Trump will do himself a great service by acquainting himself with the history of not only John Lewis but the history of these young people in changing and transforming the world.

SHAPIRO: This is Corey Walker, the dean of Winston-Salem State University, a historically black school. His office is full of posters and photos from the civil rights movement of the 1960s, including an image of a young John Lewis. I ask Dean Walker what he hears from his students.

WALKER: Their expectation is struggle. Their expectations are, what should we do? How should we organize? How should we mobilize?

SHAPIRO: We sit on a bench overlooking a wide lawn at the center of this historic campus, and Walker doesn't express despair or dread about a Trump presidency. It's more resolve.

WALKER: You're on a campus where we've been here since 1892. This is a campus that's not supposed to be here. How do you found a university in late-19th century America at the height of racial violence, at the height of institutionalized white supremacy?

If we ever give up hope, it would be antithical (ph) to the place in which we inhabit. Black colleges are here not because of the state saying we should be here. It's - black colleges are here because they exist, and they refuse to die. And black people refuse to die.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Singing, unintelligible).

SHAPIRO: Sunday morning at Emanuel Baptist Church - this is a modern sanctuary with a balcony and colorful stained glass windows. Parishioners sway and clap in the pews. Almost all of them are black. They've come to hear Reverend John Mendez preach. He's been pastor here for 34 years. His sermon connects Jesus to Martin Luther King Jr., to the politics of today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN MENDEZ: I am disappointed, but I am not discouraged. And I ain't no ways tired.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What's up, Man? What's happening?

SHAPIRO: After the service, parishioners tell us some of their fears - losing health care, public education cuts, a Justice Department that won't enforce civil rights. When the church clears out, we sit down on an empty pew with Reverend Mendez and his granddaughter.

MENDEZ: It's sort of like a pendulum that swings from progress to the lack of progress. And having gone through that on several different occasions, I can, you know, realistically say I can believe in the American people.

SHAPIRO: Reverend Mendez takes hope from the activism of young people today, and he reassures those same young people that while there will be tough times, those times will eventually pass. I ask his teenage granddaughter Ashley Montoya whether the election has changed anything for her.

ASHLEY MONTOYA: There has been a lot of racial comments towards me at school and towards my mom as well because she's from Mexico. They say that I'll be sent back to Mexico or that I should go back, and...

SHAPIRO: This is something that just started after the election.

ASHLEY: Yes.

SHAPIRO: So when they say that, what do you do? What do you say?

ASHLEY: Most of the time, I just ignore it 'cause I mean I just don't think they're worth the time.

SHAPIRO: And, Reverend, when your granddaughter comes and tells you this, that's got to be difficult to hear.

MENDEZ: You know, it's not something you just ignore. But I think you've got to equip them to be able to deal with that so that you don't become totally discouraged. That's the advantage of being 67.

SHAPIRO: I ask 15-year-old Ashley what she expects from the next four years of Trump as president. She says, I'm going to hope for the best, give him a chance and see what he can do.

MCEVERS: That's our co-host Ari Shapiro reporting from Winston-Salem, N.C., and he's still with us. Ari, where is this road trip going next?

SHAPIRO: Well, from Winston-Salem, we are driving up into the countryside tomorrow to hear from people in Yadkin County, N.C. That county voted 85 percent for Donald Trump, the highest percentage of any county in North Carolina. And generally, as the week goes on, we're going to hear from people of every political persuasion.

We've got interviews lined up with students, service members, immigrants, small business owners, rural, urban. And as we work our way north to Washington - about 420 miles in total - our final leg of the trip is going to take us back to D.C. with a group of people who are coming to town to watch the inauguration in person.

MCEVERS: Thanks so much, Ari.

SHAPIRO: You're welcome.

[POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: We say Donald Trump received 85 percent of the vote in North Carolina's Yadkin County. That was a preliminary estimate. In fact, Trump received 78.8 percent of the vote in Yadkin County, which was a tie with Graham County for the highest vote percentage in the state.]

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Correction Jan. 17, 2017

In this story, we say Donald Trump received 85 percent of the vote in North Carolina's Yadkin County. That was a preliminary estimate. In fact, Trump received 78.8 percent of the vote in Yadkin County, which was a tie with Graham County for the highest vote percentage in the state.