Sunday, January 30, 2011

The White Elephant in the Alabama Democratic Tent

Allow me to give you a history lesson of the Alabama Democratic Party in the words of someone who not only lived the overt racism of a political party that refused to accept blacks as members, but continues to work tirelessly to make sure marginalized voices are heard in the body politic of Alabama. H/T RevJZ

Back in 1966, after an election in which, having won voting rights after the
1965 Selma to Montgomery March, in which I lost two dear friend, Rev Jim
Reeb and Viola Liuzzo, blacks rushed to register to vote and to run for office, most considered themselves to be Democrats . Gov Wallace (a democrat) refused to allow them to run for office as Democrats. To combat the continuing absolute racism of the Alabama Democratic Party, some of us created another Democratic Party, the National Democratic Party of Alabama (NDPA), went through a difficult struggle, and elected the first blacks to office in Alabama as Democrats! But the ADP fought as a fully segregated party for almost 10 years as the NDPA came to hold over 100 elected offices,more than any other state!!! Then and only then did the ADP want us, and we forgivingly moved into the ADP. But of course its leadership remained fully racist and we have been struggling to change that ever since. But racists continued to run for and hold office as Democrats. It never fully changed. That makes it clear why people are still very suspicious of attitudes in the ADP.

It was the party of George Wallace then, it's the party of George Wallace now.The question is, will it be the party of George Wallace forever?

Links for clarity;
Viola Luizzo

Rev. James Reeb

Voting Rights Act 1965

Selma to Montgomery March

George C. Wallace

"We were living in terrible times. We were fighting for the right to breath"

African American Alabama democrats are still fighting for the right to be members of the ADP because everyone tiptoes around the big white elephant standing in the middle of the Alabama Democratic Party Tent.

In the end we will not remember the words of enemies, but the silence of our friends.~Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

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