At Pullen Memorial Baptist Church last night, we learned that Mary D. Williams, the “parent” in the quartet arrested last week for disrupting the Wake school board meeting, is a gospel singer with a fabulous, booming voice. The crowd, at least 250 strong and racially diverse, just rocked when she took the microphone.

We learned that Tim Tyson, the Duke “historian” among the arrested 4, knows the civil rights history of Raleigh and Wake County as well as anyone — so he knows what “forced busing” and “neighborhood schools” are all about. Both terms are right out of the old segregationist playbook from George Wallace days, Tyson said.

We learned that the Rev. Nancy Petty, recently installed as the pastor at Pullen, intends that her church take center stage in this unfolding chapter of civil rights history just as it did in earlier chapters under the leadership of the Rev. W.W. Finlator. Nancy Petty was the white minister among the Raleigh 4. Petty said repeatedly that the time has come for “direct action,” which may mean getting arrested as she did in acts of civil disobedience but also means marching, protests and demonstrations of all kinds. She read Thomas Jefferson’s fiery words from the Declaration of Independence about the purposes of government and the right of the people, when a government “becomes destructive” of human liberties, “to alter or abolish it.”

Above all, we learned that state NAACP President the Rev. William Barber, the Raleigh 4’s black minister, fully intends to put Raleigh into the history books as the Southern capital city where right-wing efforts to re-segregate the public schools a half-century after the Brown ruling were smashed by mass protests. Barber called on the community to rise up and “speak in a massive way” at a protest in Raleigh on July 20, a Tuesday when a regular school board meeting is scheduled.

Barber said the time and place of the protest will be announced shortly. He called on religious leaders, parents, students and the 93 organizations in the HK on J Coalition to join him, and he vowed “to fight in every arena, and give no quarter,” in opposing school resegregation in Wake County and throughout North Carolina.

Barber and Petty said that while they were in the Wake County Jail last week, they began writing a document called