‘Bama Finally Bids Jim Crow Adieu

Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Well, the Alabama Senate finally got around to it. A vote Wednesday eliminated Jim Crow laws and other segregationist measures in the State’s 340,000 word constitution that was adopted in 1901. The struck language eliminates requirements for separation of the races in educational institutions and the infamous polls taxes. The vote was 22-9 with all Republican senators voting in favor of the legislation.

Some Democratic legislators opposed the bill as too little, too late. Sen. Linda Coleman, D-Birmingham, said there were still racist problems in Alabama’s constitution, including schools that she said are not equitably funded. “This bill to me is a farce. It’s a smokescreen,” Coleman said. ” Jim Crow is still here…. We know there are disparities,” she added. “Even though federal laws nullify these old wordings, it remains a black eye on the state,” said Cam Ward, an Republican senator. A similar bill will snake its way through the Alabama House with an equally good chance of passage.

An interesting side note is that similar legislation failed on a statewide vote in 2004. 

During the epic struggle for human rights played out across the ’60’s, the icon of that age, Dr. Martin Luther King, famously said, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. “

Seems the “final word” has arrived in Alabama — on a very slow train.

Source: Yahoo News

Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

23 thoughts on “‘Bama Finally Bids Jim Crow Adieu”

  1. I can add some insight as to why certain blatantly obvious constitutional amendments in Alabama fail. It is a conscious effort on the part of some of us (I lived in Birmingham from 1996-2008) to get a new Alabama Constitution. Alabama has the worst and longest constitution in the world. That is not hyperbole.

    The constitution was written in 1902 to accomplish two things; keep power out of the hands of blacks, and keep property taxes low for whites. To that end, the drafters instituted the worst part of the constitution, that there is absolutely no home rule. This was designed in 1902 to keep black citizens from controlling their own segregated areas of the state.

    What it means in practice is that the entire state must vote on a constitutional amendment to regulate badger hunting in a single Alabama county, along with anything else a local area might want to do. It’s absolutely ridiculous, and it is only the fear of increased property taxes (which are RIDICULOUSLY low, it’s a crime) on the part of suburban whites that keeps this racist document governing the state. The Federal Government should move in and take over as they did under reconstruction, in my opinion.

    Because the constitution is a racist and untenable document, many voters, myself included, have decided to vote against every single amendment that is put on the ballot, no matter how “corrective” to the document itself. We do this to highlight that you cannot fix a racist and economically draconian document piecemeal.

    See http://www.constitutionalreform.org/ for more information. And thanks, Jonathan.

  2. either one of the auto companies that have plant in the state or an auto or other type company that is considering building in the state must have pushed for this. they would never do it on their own.

  3. I am wondering two things about this vote. First, why our friends in the GOP decided it was time to clean up the Alabama constitution now after all these years. I am frankly suspicious of their motives since the rank and file of the new GOP in the South seem to be the moral and intellectual heirs and descendants of slavers and segregationists. One of the articles I read today about this story caused me to wonder about a second issue. In 2004 the good folks of Alabama voted down a similar constitutional amendment when someone pointed out that the amendment would repeal a constitutional provision that states that there is no right to a free public education in Alabama. Now relying on my memory of those heady times during the 60s I remember that the Jim Crow states were passing acts that denied the existence of a right to public education so that those Jim Crow states could in fact shut down their public schools to avoid integrating them. I wonder if this week’s repeal contained a similar repealer. Does anyone know?

  4. Adieu Jim Crow–Adieu, Yes Adieu!

    I can no longer stand the thought of you, racist shrew

    You can hang your KKK scarf on yonder Weepin’ Willer tree

    ‘Cause today your world finally ceased to be

  5. Well done Mespo. I have to agree with Buddha that this was a very slow train. Mike S., I hope your comment isn’t true any longer, but I fear that you are correct.

  6. Cynic that I am at times my take on the slight change that has come to Alabama in racial policies had its’ beginnings when the Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn realized they we becoming uncompetitive due to their refusal to recruit black football players. Changes had to be made if Alabama’s chief claim to fame, college football dominance was to continue. The changes were slight as the majority of the white population still clung to their bigotry and insularity. I believe this is still true today.

  7. Back in the 1600’s when the tobacco growers in Jamestown decided it was cheaper to buy slaves from Dutch traders rather than stick with the indentured servants who gained their freedom after 7 years of labor, our problem began. Fast forward a 100 years to the Founders who lacked the courage and wisdom to end slavery and decided to kick the can down the road to future generations and our problem was drastically worsened.

    Here we are today. On one hand, we elected a black man to the highest office in the world, while on the other, we have the deluded citizens of Alabama.

    We are certifiable.

  8. This surely means that ‘Bama is now O’bama country…

    I wonder now how many ‘Bamans will be leavin’ on that:

  9. Isn’t it nice that all those redneck, dirtbag Republicans can now pretend they are not racist? Hey, we voted to end Jim Crow language so its all good right?

    Meanwhile they promote the Jim Crow policies and send pictures of Obama as a monkey or with a bone in his noes or with a watermelon patch at the WH.

  10. The only thing I can add is . . . excellent job, mespo.

    A very slow train indeed.

  11. From Prattville Progress, posted by Swarthmore mom

    Black senators call bill removing racist language from constitution a ‘farce’

    By Phillip Rawls • The Associated Press • April 28, 2011

    “This bill is a farce,” Democratic Sen. Linda Coleman of Birmingham said.

    “This is tokenism by Mr. Orr who wants to feel like he is doing something right,” Democratic Sen. Bobby Singleton of Greensboro said.

    The Senate’s 22 Republicans, who are all white, voted for the legislation. The seven black Democrats, five white Democrats and one white independent either voted against it or did not vote.

    (Thanks for posting the link, Swarthmore mom.)

  12. AY:

    My thoughts as well. I’m guessing it was a bad PR campaign to promote the plebiscite.

  13. “An interesting side note is that similar legislation failed on a statewide vote in 2004.”

    SO what is being said here? Not that voters are all that informed….but it seems that if all the People voting for it were Republican…. I wonder who voted against it and why?

    Thanks Mespo…..

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