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A Birthday Tribute to Rodney Sumler, Civil Rights Activist

posted Jan 26, 2017, 5:44 PM by Rahni Jere Sumler   [ updated Jan 26, 2017, 5:45 PM ]
Rodney Sumler Birthday Tribute January 2017
Community Diary by Rahni S.

Rodney Sumler was born on January 26, 1941. He attended North Carolina Agricultural& Technical State University, graduating in 1965 after years of student activism. He help organize the historic "Freshman Four" student sit-in at Woolworth, frequently celebrated on the A&T campus every February.


His youngest daughter who attended his same alma mater asked if he was involved in the student sit-in. Rodney Sumler humbly said that he didn't because he had to attend class that day. This humility, humbleness, and strong belief in organization cultivated the young civil rights activist into the community leading editor of the AC Phoenix News.

AC Phoenix News was founded in 1983 and empowered a community to become politically active despite many structural adversities.

The Electoral Integrity Project just found that North Carolina's democratic index was on par with failed democracies like Venezuela or Iran. This came about due to decades of abusive gerrymandering. The AC Phoenix News operated in the heart of this structurally unfair landscape.  In spite of this, the community newspaper was integral in the community producing Senators whom represented them. All of the Senators who would fly a flag over the United States capitol in honor of Rodney Sumler at his passing on March 7, 2015.


Today we celebrate Rodney Sumler's birthday, whos service had an very large impact on the Piedmont Triad. We also prepare for Rodney Sumler Day, a holiday named in the City of Winston-Salem North Carolina honoring local media and it's direct service to the community at large.

Local media plays a large part in safe guarding our democracy.

Do your part: Signup to make #RodneySumlerDay a day of awareness, direct activism and support of local media that serves the people.