Blog Posts: Orange County

State of Exclusion: Profile on Orange County


Following the 2013 State of Exclusion report, the UNC Center for Civil Rights released a series of county profiles, containing a more in-depth examination of exclusion and the legacy of racial segregation in the individual counties. The fifth in the series, Orange County, is released today. This report, the other county reports, and the statewide report, are all available at

Nestled in the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area, Orange County boasts three prosperous towns, a low unemployment rate and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Behind this prosperity lies a sharp divide between rich and poor, often along racial lines. As the county has grown, the cost of living has increased and the African American population has declined. The result is outward migration from traditional African American neighborhoods and the county as a whole.

The county’s remaining non-white population disproportionately live in areas with close proximity to solid waste or other potentially polluting facilities. Compared to other wealthy counties or to the state, Orange County has a smaller exposure rate to solid waste facilities for its overall population (3.20% compared to 5.34% statewide), but a higher rate for super majority non-white census blocks (16.72% compared to 9.37%). Additionally, racially identifiable excluded communities still have difficulty obtaining the infrastructure to supply water and sewer access. The County has been working with the cities to address this issue, but it is a slow process.

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Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Thu. March 9, 2017 4:14 PM
Categories: Community Inclusion, Education, Environmental Justice, Orange County, Race Discrimination

Center Attorneys Speak at MLK Day Celebrations

The Center was well-represented at Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations in Chapel Hill and Southport, North Carolina on January 20, 2014. Managing Staff Attorney Mark Dorosin was the keynote speaker at the NAACP’s historic celebration at First Baptist Church in Chapel Hill following a march down Franklin Street. Read Mark's speech (PDF). Senior Staff Attorney Elizabeth Haddix was the keynote speaker at the 20th annual Roundtable Breakfast program sponsored by the Brunswick County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee at Trinity United Methodist Church in Southport. Read Elizabeth's speech (PDF).

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Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Thu. January 23, 2014 10:53 AM
Categories: Brunswick County, Community Inclusion, Community Leaders, Education, Orange County, Race Discrimination, Segregation

Next Generation Series: Orange County Landfill Closing Is A Victory for the Rogers-Eubanks Commmunity

Each year, the Center hosts law student interns for the summer, fall, and spring semesters, as part of its mission to train the next generation of civil rights lawyers. This blog post is part of the Next Generation Series, which include reflections from our interns on their assigned casework. Read more about our current and past interns.

The historic Rogers-Eubanks community claimed a long overdue victory when the Orange County Landfill closed on Saturday, June 29, 2013, forty-one years after it opened. With a slow click of the master lock held by three community members – David Caldwell, Gertrude Nunn and the Reverend Robert Campbell – the landfill gates were secured.

Rogers-Eubanks community members prepare to lock the landfill gates. The signs they hold read, "Thanks Orange County for Closing This Landfill, Let's Keep It Closed Forever. Reject NC Senate Bill 328."

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Posted by Bethan R. Eynon on Wed. July 10, 2013 4:36 PM
Categories: Community Inclusion, Environmental Justice, Next Generation Series, Orange County

Center urges Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools to prioritize diversity in new assignment plan

On December 18, Managing Attorney Mark Dorosin submitted a letter to Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board regarding the upcoming 2012-2013 student reassignment plan.

"Racial or socio-economic isolation is a known barrier to securing the prerequisites to a quality education . . . Moreover, the idea of “community schools” not only ignores the continuing legacy of residential racial and socio-economic segregation in housing opportunities, but also takes a shortsighted and narrow view of what constitutes a community."

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Posted by Mark Dorosin on Wed. December 19, 2012 8:11 AM
Categories: Community Inclusion, Education, Fair Housing, Orange County, Race Discrimination, Segregation

Rogers Road Remediation: Challenges Remain

Rogers Road citizens rally for their community

The Center for Civil Rights continues to advocate for the Rogers Road Neighborhood, a 150-year-old, majority African American community divided between Chapel Hill and Carrboro that has hosted Orange County’s landfills for over 40 years.

In 1972, the county sited an unlined landfill near the community upon a promise to residents that it would close the landfill within 10 years. In 1982, the county instead extended the life of the landfill and has since expanded it to include two municipal waste landfills, two construction and demolition debris landfills, a leachate pond, a hazardous waste collection site, a materials recovery facility, facilities for mulching yard and clean wood waste, and facilities for managing scrap tires, old appliances, scrap metal, and salvaged construction materials.

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Posted by Bethan R. Eynon on Mon. December 3, 2012 2:14 PM
Categories: Community Inclusion, Environmental Justice, Orange County, Race Discrimination, Segregation

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