The Civic Group: Leading the Way With Nearly 40 Years of Community Service

by February 15, 2017

Eastern NC Civic GroupThe Eastern North Carolina Civic Group (the Civic Group) has a long and storied history.  It was formed in the late seventies to support historically underserved Black communities that were struggling to find ways to acquire economic and political power.  The founder was former Roper Mayor, E.V. Wilkins.  Mayor Wilkins is remembered as a leader that commanded statewide respect for his intellect, integrity and commitment to historically underserved communities and people.  For many years he led with respect and a sophisticated knowledge of people and politics.

Today, the Civic Group is led by Winfall Mayor, the Honorable Fred Yates, a community leader that learned many important leadership qualities from Mayor Wilkins.  After retiring from the US Marines, Fred Yates was elected as the first Black Mayor of Winfall.  He is currently serving his eleventh term.  He serves and has served on various boards and commissions too numerous to mention.  Mayor Yates has continued the leadership style he learned working with the Civic Group.  He is ably assisted by three Vice- Chairs, James Sears, a Gates County leader that has been with the group since its inception, James Pugh of Bertie County and Moses Matthews of Martin County.  I confess, I’m proud to call these leaders my friends and the Civic Group my home.

I’ve been involved in various community based organizations for forty years and believe that the Civic Group is one of the most effective and respected organizations in North Carolina today.  It is a mandatory stop for politicians that need support from Black voters in northeastern North Carolina.  Betty Selby of Dare County is its secretary and Diane Liverman, of Tyrell County, their treasurer.

Recently (the Civic Group) was presented with a proposal to unite many of the counties that it serves with an online news service produced by Greater Diversity News (GDN).  The response has been overwhelmingly positive.  There is a clear recognition that knowledge of Civic Group news and projects that are available to its members that reside in both the First and Third Congressional Districts will greatly enhance the value that the Civic Group has historically provided to its communities.

The idea of creating an online publication to serve northeastern North Carolina was not my idea.  It came from a community leader that has long ties with the Civic Group.  At upcoming Civic Group meetings we will discuss various aspects of GDN’s upcoming online publication and invite public feedback from presently targeted communities and other communities that want to be included.

The leadership of the Civic Group has also expressed an intention to invite all Black elected officials from the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts to all future meetings.  This brings additional unique value to many of our communities that are unable to remain updated on many current issues that are important to their communities.

The issues of concern by the Civic Group are very similar to issues of concern by other Black leadership organizations like the NAACP.  Some are communication/media; criminal justice; economic development; environmental affairs; housing; international affairs/immigration; local, state, and national legislation; veterans’ affairs; voting right; youth work and civil rights.

All of these issues will receive ongoing news coverage in GDN NorthEast Online and GDN’s monthly print editions.


Mark your calendar ENCCG Meeting Schedule:

March 12, 2017       Pasquotank County

April 8, 2017           Dare County

May                         TBD

June 10, 2017          Northampton County

July 8, 2017             Perquimans County

August 12, 2017      Carteret County


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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on political, social and economic justice.  To support our efforts, to unite our politics and economics, please “Like” and follow us at, “Share” our articles and post your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our websites He is available for radio commentaries upon request. Follow Peter on  Finally, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to like and follow our page.


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