“Before Reconstruction, most Southern state legislatures had the sole power to appoint judges. But at North Carolina’s 1868 Constitutional convention, the state gave voters the power to directly elect judges. One of the delegates who voted in favor was Abraham Galloway, a former fugitive slave, who explained why this issue was so important for black voters.
” ‘[Galloway] said…that the Judiciary in New Hanover [County] was a bastard born in sin and secession,’ reported the convention notes. ‘In their eyes, it was a crime to be a black or loyal man. He said that the Judge of the Criminal Court had already sent men to the work-house merely to prevent their voting upon the ratification of the Constitution.’ ”
— From “How Power Grabs in the South Erased Reforms After Reconstruction” by Becky Little at History.com (Dec. 20, 2018)