Andre Knight’s Speech: “How Dare You Challenge Us”

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

We recognize these lines from Dr. King’s, I Have A Dream Speech, when he climbed the marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to describe his vision of America. His voice, these words will live forever. Compare this to Andre Knight’s, ‘How Dare You Challenge US’ speech given at the April 3, 2023 City Council Meeting. The speech followed citizen, Mr. Troy Davis, who spoke against spending money on a Judicial Center rather than on housing, which should be the priority.

The meeting video:

The fact is they both agreed that $35 million should not be spent on a Judicial Center. Mr. Knight wanted to make clear that he had not voted in favor of this proposal and insisted he has long fought for housing. All that got lost because Mr. Knight had a fly-apart and chose to fire back yelling and banging his hand on the table. He went on angrily to talk about past events not relevant to the matter being discussed. He is still angry over his Falls Road house plans being rejected. His reasons for objecting to the Judicial Center were completely lost in his verbal assault on Mr. Davis. He accused Mr. Davis of grand-standing in front of the council and for daring to speak when the council has recommended him for loans for his projects. “How Dare You.” In his rant he said, “Yes, I’m mad, I’m sick and tired of my own kind blaming us. (Blackwell, Joyner, Knight) Don’t blame me!”

I’m offering a way to look at last night where a different outcome could have happened. Dr. Claire Greer, Research Asst. Professor-UNC Center for Literacy and Disability Studies has spent her career helping children with behavioral disabilities. She tells us that teaching children how to problem solve will change the behavior getting them into trouble when acting out, hitting, anger that contributes to loss of control. Dr. Greer tells us that when children are taught to problem-solve they focus on six things. They look at

(1) What were the facts of the situation.

(2) What did the child feel about the situation.

(3) The teacher and child brainstorm other ways the child could have handled the situation and make a list.

(4) Discard the bad ideas on their list of what to do next time.

(5) They identify the good ideas they will try to use to help themselves in the future

(6) They specify how to handle things differently next time?

FACTS: City Council Meeting on Monday, April 3, 2023.

Citizens continue to take their three minutes to discuss a $35 million expenditure on a Judicial Center. At this City Council meeting, Entrepreneur, hands-on, Troy Davis, challenged the council to reconsider this project in favor of the housing issues he deems a priority.

Fact: Mr. Knight choose to fire back yelling and banging his hand on the table. He went on to yell about past events not relevant to the matter. Things that have been done unto him. He verbally assaulted Mr. Davis for speaking.

FEELINGS: Councilman Knight was angry, feelings of being tarred and feathered in a past experience were mentioned.

Mr. Knight was enraged, how dare he be criticized.

BRAINSTORM: What are other ways the councilman could have responded?

Listen with no response.

Ask the Council for a closed-session for further discussion on the matter.

State his reasons for not supporting the expenditure and his no vote.

I’m sure you have good suggestions of what would be helpful next time!

My point is if school age children can be taught how to problem solve to change their behavior, why can’t Rocky Mount City Councilman, Andre Knight learn too? Adrienne Copland, who came to the microphone in objection to not only Mr. Knight’s ‘How Dare You’ Speech but aghast that no one on the council tried to stop Mr. Knight’s speech.

Mr. Knight got the last word, however, telling Adrienne Copland that her white privilege stopped when she came to the council. What ever that is supposed to mean. As long as Mr. Knight is on the council, Rocky Mount shoulders his bad reputation and it costs us economically. People decide against moving to the Rocky Mount area. In November this must end and Mr. Knight must be replaced.


5 thoughts on “Andre Knight’s Speech: “How Dare You Challenge Us”

  1. I cannot answer why Ward 1 constituents continue to vote because I am new to the area. I will be ignorant if I dismiss the history and struggles of where many non-white people came from in this area. There is some merit to what Mr. Knight stands for, obviously, but for some reason, he’s not relating very well to me. Let me say this: I am not one who has voted for him since moving here and here are the reasons why:

    —He has not made himself known to a newcomer as myself. I am not saying he had to ring my bell and shake my hand but at least post an updated URL that talks about himself and accomplishments, where he’s come from and where he plans to take Ward 1 and so forth.
    —He nor his staff have reached back to me with responses to my questions. Attending the council meeting cannot be the ONLY way to voice my concerns.
    —I am not sure if he’s for the younger voices of his Ward, especially outsiders who have made RM their dwelling. It’s been 4 years since I’ve been here and I’ve not seen not one flyer, one video, received not one email or even snail mail letter from our councilman. How can I vote for someone I don’t know.

    Again, I understand Mr. Knight has to be given his due because of all he’s done (as he says) but he is not speaking to my demographic (well, in my opinion). He also still speaks the language of yesteryear and not to the new and upcoming folks (if they still choose) to RM.

    Mr. Knight can simply put out a video introducing himself and inviting us to speak to him (and forgive me if he has. I have not been privy to it). In my previous locale, my councilman would (and still does) calls a sidewalk meeting for the constituents to meet him face to face and to bring their concerns. Mr. Knight has a demeanor to me (when viewed online), that seems unapproachable. He could also use a visible mentee that Ward 1 knows. This mentee will know the past history but will build on it to speak the language of the new. We, in Ward 1, do not want to forgo the past history; it is important. However, it needs to be translated to how it can be applied today but in an attractive way. No one wants to always be beat over the head with “black and white” talk, especially when it’s not so necessary.

    If Mr. Knight and others have helped Mr. Davis in the past, why is it that Mr. Davis could not question practices that may seem dubious? Why be offensive or defensive? Do they now own Mr. Davis because they’ve helped him? What was spoken from the desk made it seem as if citizens, should never speak against events (no matter how good, bad or indifferent) because of fear of one-way communication shutdowns.

    Lastly, again, if no one knows the past histories of this Council, Mr. Davis and introducing Ms. Copeland, then it looked to be mighty strange to have Mr. Knight tell Ms. Copeland that her “white privilege ends here” when she seemingly was standing up for not only Mr. Davis (a black man) but any others who needed to challenge the thought processes and ideas of government. So, at that moment, what “white privilege” was she using? If any, it was to benefit those not white and that meant something positive to me. Mr. Knight also commented on him being tired of his own going against him (paraphrased since I am not reviewing video at this moment) and that might be true. However, are they bringing up legitimate concerns and not being responded to, such as my email, letter…?

    Mr. Davis said that if about $2 million dollars was pumped into several of RM’s communities in the past 13 years, a difference would have been made. Granted, I understand neighborhoods don’t just change from outward efforts but…If monies could be found to renovate the Judicial Center, where are the advancements of these communities that need the funds the most? Maybe if the council were still living in those areas…


    Ward 1 might have a population of elders that have given up on voting/the system/their representatives, or are siding with Mr. Knight because of personal affiliations, or what but as for me and what I know and see now—I don’t know enough to cast my vote for him.


    1. I hope we can get together for some ice tea or lunch.I want to meet you. I LOVED your thoughts left in your comment. Today, Friday, I have been writing a post around your message. Will post next Tuesday, May 30th. Thank you for taking the time to write this valuable ‘eyes on the scene’ feedback. THANK YOU for keeping me company on Main Street.


  2. Maybe the mayor is as just as ignorant as Mr. Knight and his flock of not so Merry Men. Andre just cannot seem to get of the plantation and back into the civilized world he grew up in and somehow remains to live in despite his arrogancy and his attitude that we owe him something. Well, I think we paid him off to the tune of $47,000.00 so he needs to be humble and kind to all citizens and accept the fact that he can walk away from the council any time he feels his work is not appreciated. I do not think a single person will miss him except Mr. Blackwell.


  3. After watching the video of the meeting I wanted to comment but couldn’t find the words. Andres’ behavior and the lack of control by the Mayor were an embarrassment. Our city council should be ashamed.


  4. You are so on target. Why do constituents in his ward continue to vote him in? Do they think his behavior is becoming, mature, professional, etc… or do they just ignorant of his shenanigans? Of course these are rhetoric questions. Most importantly, why is our mayor allowing this to happen?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s