Wednesday, April 10, 2013

This is not your Daddy's Alabama Democratic Party...Or is it?

Image: Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., with Peggy Wallace-Kennedy
Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., shares a moment with Peggy Wallace-Kennedy, daughter of former Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace, prior to being introduced to the congregation gathered at the Brown AME Chapel in Selma, Ala., on Sunday, on the 44th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery march that led to passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Key words... a symbol of change in Alabama.   From where I sit I see lots of symbolism but very little change due to the deep racial divide within the Alabama Democratic Party.  The white wing needs the black wings vote in order to "win" elections, but after they win, they govern like republicans. When the black wing dares complain about their mist-treatment, or demand equal rights they are accused of being divisive, code for shut up, stop whining,  go along to get along.  

The present Chairman is trying to "reinvent the Alabama Democratic Party"  but what does that mean exactly?  Based on actions and comments it means getting rid of Joe Reed and his bunch of people.  There's only one problem with that...getting rid of Joe Red and his bunch of people will return the Democratic Party to the party of Segregation Today.  Segregation Tomorrow.  Segregation Forever.

The Alabama Democratic Conference, formerly known as the Black Political Caucus of Alabama, was established in 1960. Its leaders were African Americans who wished to encourage all voters, but especially other African Americans, to vote for the democratic candidate, who at the time was John F. Kennedy with vice president Lyndon B. Johnson. The founders of this influential group include Arthur Shores, Rufus Lewis, Dr. C.G. Gomillion, Q. D. Adams, Isom Clemon, and Beulah Johnson. All of these individuals held respectable positions in their communities and were looked up to by the people, especially by other African Americans.
Since the time of its establishment, the Alabama Democratic Conference has only gotten more influential. In fact, it now promotes the democratic party throughout the entire state thanks to having many chapters and other affiliated organizations.

The mission statement of the Alabama Democratic Conference is simple. It is to "organize" and to "unify" the vote of the African American population and also to make the African American vote and opinion appreciated and respected. The organization worked tirelessly for ten years after its inception before these results truly began to manifest themselves. It was a long, hard road, but the members were simply not willing to give up on what they thought as important. Things really changed for this group in 1970 when it began to screen and endorse actual democratic candidates. This brought more attention to and knowledge of the group. The Alabama Democratic Conference also focused on having voter registration drives, monitoring voting, employing African Americans, and helping African Americans to be able to run for office and to hold high positions. Thanks to the group's hard work, there are now more African American elected representatives in Alabama than there are in any other state. While this cannot be due entirely to the Alabama Democratic Conference, it certainly wouldn't have been possible without its dedicated efforts and concern.
There are some (not to be confused with all) white democrats who believe this group and it's leader(s) have served their usefulness and it's time for the Alabama Democratic Party to unite, but that's kind of hard to do when one group takes the other group for granted.  What ever his faults ADC Vice Chairman  Dr. Joe Reed has always been reliable voice for progressive issues in Alabama.

Joe Reed served as Executive Secretary of the Alabama State Teachers Association from 1964 to 1969, where he became nationally known as a champion of employee rights. He was the key negotiator for the ASTA leading up to the merger with the AEA, and subsequently serves as Associate Executive Secretary of the Alabama Education Association (AEA) to this date. Joe Reed is also a member of numerous professional associations.

Joe Reed has served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention eight (8) times; he served as Chairman of the Alabama Delegation during the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. He is Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC) and Vice Chair of the Democratic Party for Minority Affairs, and he was National Co-Chair for the Committee of Educators for the Humphrey/Muskie ticket in 1968. In 2008 Hillary Clinton outreached to Joe Reed (before Barack Obama was viewed as a serious contender in the 2008 Presidential race), to be her pointman in the area.

In 1975, Joe Reed led the efforts to get equitable representation for blacks on the Montgomery City Council. His efforts resulted in four blacks of nine being elected. He served on the Montgomery City Council for 24 years. In the Democratic Party today, Alabama’s black representation exceeds all other states in the nation. For over 40 years he has led the effort to get more blacks elected and appointed to public office, including federal marshals, federal and state judges, members of the boards of registrars, legislators, county commissioners, city councils, and school boards. He drafted two plans that increased black representation in the Alabama House of Representatives from 13 to 27; and in the Senate from 3 to 8 in 1982, and 1992, respectively. He also drew a reapportionment plan that provided for 25% (two of eight) majority black districts on the State Board of Education. Alabama is the only state in the nation where the Legislature reflects the state’s population of blacks and whites.
As long as some (not to be confused with all) white democrats see Joe Reed and his bunch as the problem the Alabama Democratic Party will continue to be Your Daddy's Alabama's Democratic Party.

 Symbolism is nice, but substance is better. 

 I'm just saying....

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