Selma: "One small step for a black man, one giant leap for inducing white guilt"
By every possible metric measuring social capital in a community, the 80 percent black city of Selma is a monumental failure.
Here’s a brief overview of 80 percent black Selma in 2015 (courtesy of Hunter Wallace):
In 2015, Selma is 80 percent black and now has a black mayor, a black chief of police, a black district attorney, a black school superintendent, a majority black city council, and a majority black police force.
In 2015, Selma City Schools are 97 percent black. Last year, the Alabama Department of Education’s Board of Education voted unanimously to take over Selma City Schools in the aftermath of a scathing state investigation.
In 2015, fifty years after the Voting Rights Act was passed, Selma has lost a third of its population, around 10,000 White people.
In 2015, 42 percent of the population of Selma lives in poverty, which is twice the state average in Alabama.
In 2015, Selma is represented in the US Congress by a black woman, Rep. Terri Sewell, in the Alabama House of Representatives by a black man, State Rep. Darrio Melton, and in the Alabama Senate by a black man, nine-term incumbent State Sen. Hank Sanders.
In 2015, Selma is the fourth most dangerous city in Alabama with the third highest number of murders per capita and the fourth highest number of property crimes.
In 2015, Selma is struggling with code enforcement on numerous blighted, abandoned homes.
In 2015, Selma is one of the worst cities in which to do business in Alabama.
In 2015, Selma is an epicenter of new HIV infections in rural Alabama. The HIV infection rate in Dallas County is 106.8 percent above the national average.
So, the new and improved Selma in 2015 is plagued by extreme poverty, STDs, high crime, terrible schools, a terrible business climate, high unemployment, low property value, low civic engagement and racial strife by the likes of Faya Rose Toure. Yet the Voting Rights Act was unquestionably a huge success in Selma where blacks now occupy every public office which their numbers allow them to dominate.
It's their city now, with Selma's current conditions a reflection of its majority black population. [Selma's message on civil rights 50 years later:As President Obama prepares to visit Selma five decades after 'Bloody Sunday,' how the civil rights struggle has – and hasn't – changed an epicenter of the movement., Christian Science-Monitor, 3-6-15]:
True, Selma now has black leaders in positions of power, including the mayor, police chief, district attorney, six out of eight city council members, and four out of five school board members. True, Selma’s black population is quick to speak out against injustices – and has overcome innumerable ones.
But the journey toward equality is still a long march. Black children here are more likely to grow up in poverty, less likely to graduate, less likely to attend college, and less likely to become homeowners. Sections of Selma remain sharply segregated, partly because of white flight and partly by choice. Jobs are scarce, and even harder to obtain for those who lack adequate education and skills.
But none of this matters, because Selma is only recognized every March when every last ounce of white guilt can be squeezed out of the crumbling majority black city.
In 1965, Selma was about half-white; today only 18 percent of residents are. Many affluent whites live near the Selma Country Club, located just west of downtown and the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The Los Angeles Times reports that the club today doesn't have a single black member.
Across the street from the country club is Live Oak Cemetery, divided into "Old" and "New" sections. In 2012, protests erupted when whites moved a statue of Confederate and Klan member Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest to the site; at one point the bust was stolen off of Forrest's statue.
Rolling under the Edmund Pettus Bridge is the Alabama River. A recent report found Alabama to have the third-most toxic waterways in the country, including the lower sections of the Alabama. The biggest employer in Dallas County is International Paper Co.'s Riverdale Mill, which ranks 21st in the state for toxic releases -- more than 1.3 million pounds annually (although some have applauded the company's pollution-reduction efforts). The short-changing of the environment for economic development usually affects poor and black communities the most: Just north of Selma, majority-black Perry County -- where local civil rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson was murdered in 1965, helping spark the Selma protests -- became the dumpsite for toxic coal ash spilled in 2009 in Tennessee. The dump is the target of civil rights complaint.
The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was busy under cover of night distributing leaflets around Selma. Atlanta Progressive News obtained an image of one of the flyers.
Also a billboard, visible from the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, features a Confederate flag and invites visitors to tour “Selma’s War Between the State’s Historic Sites.”