44th Annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival Saturday, August 24 & Sunday, August 25, Old Courthouse Square, Eutaw, AL

Come to the only show in town where you can smile and sway to ole timey blues, enjoy the delicacies of right-off-the grill barbecue and polish sausages, feast on freshly cooked country dinners with assorted pies and cakes and then top it all off with hand churned homemade ice cream.
All this and more is happening at the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival on Saturday, August 24 and Sunday August 25 on the Old Courthouse Square in Eutaw, AL.
The festival features down home blues music, old timey gospel, traditional foods, handmade crafts and special events for the young people. Saturday’s events are scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with Ole Timey Blues and dancing featuring musicians Clarence Davis, The Liberators, Russell Gulley, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Jock Webb, Roadhouse Blues Band, Willie Halbert and the Fingerprint Band, and others.
The handmade crafts available at the festival are traditional quilts and other needle works; baskets from white oak, pine needles and corn shucks.

The assortments of down-home foods include soul food dinners, barbecue, fried fish, chicken and skins, Polish sausage, homemade ice cream, cakes and pies; snow cones, Italian ice, and more.
Ole Timey Gospel is reserved for Sunday’s festival beginning at 2:00 p.m. and featuring the The Echo Juniors, Son of Zion, The Melody Kings, The Mississippi Traveling Stars, The Golden Gates, New Generation Men of Promise, Greene County Mass Choir, The American Travelers and many others.
The Festival will also feature hands-on arts activities for the children.
“The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is home coming time in the region. Many families, class reunions and social clubs plan their annual activities to coincide with the festival’s schedule,” stated Dr. Carol P. Zippert, festival coordinator. “The festival brings together folk artists who are considered bearers of the traditions and folkways of the West Alabama region,” she explained. “This is a festival where people truly celebrate themselves – their joys and struggles and especially ‘how we made it over,’” Zippert states.
According to Dr. Zippert, the two day festival is open to the public free of charge. The hours are Saturday, August 24, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday August 25, 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is supported in part by the Black Belt Community Foundation, Alabama Power Foundation and other local contributors.
The festival is produced by the Society of Folk Arts & Culture.
There is no admission fee for the Festival events.
For more information contact Carol P. Zippert at 205-372-0525;
Email: carolxzippert@aol.com

Newswire : Simone Biles smashes records, drives fans wild with Triple-Double during floor exercise

The five-time Olympic medalist became the first woman to perfect the triple-twist, double-flip move in her first pass on floor.

By Jenna Amatulli, Huffington Post

Simone Biles doing flip in the air

Simone Biles just can’t stop flipping herself into the record books.
On Saturday at the 2019 U.S. Gymnastics Championship in Kansas City, Missouri, the five-time Olympic medalist made history, becoming the first gymnast to land a double-twisting, double somersault dismount from the balance beam in a match.
Simone Biles just can’t stop flipping herself into the record books.
On Saturday at the 2019 U.S. Gymnastics Championship in Kansas City, Missouri, the five-time Olympic medalist made history, becoming the first gymnast to land a double-twisting, double somersault dismount from the balance beam in a match.
The 22-year-old had tried the move in preliminaries on Friday and didn’t exactly nail it. After shorting on the triple-twist, double-flip, she told ESPN: “I still get really frustrated because I know how good I am and how well I can do. So I just want to do the best routine for the audience and for myself out here.”
Biles’ nailing the tricky move on Sunday made her the first female gymnast to land two new moves in competition andher sixth title at the championships, tying Clara Schroth Lomady’s record set in 1952.
If Biles throws either one of her history-making moves at October’s world championships, it will be named after her.

This weekend is 50th anniversary of Greene County Freedom Day – July 29, 1969

Joyce Dasher and Rosie L. Carpenter

Spiver Gordon, President of the Alabama Civil Rights Museum Movement, announced that there will be a two-day program, this coming Saturday and Sunday, July 27 and 28, 2019, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the special election on July 29, 1969, which elected Black officials to the Greene County Commission and School Board.
“This is a two day celebration of 50 years of voting rights, democracy, justice and unity for all people in Greene County, Alabama. We invite everyone, Black and White, Hispanics, Asians and Native peoples from Greene County and around the state and nation to attend. This is a celebration of what is good and positive in Greene County.
This is a celebration of the continuing success and benefits of the 1965 Voting Rights Act to people at the grassroots level in counties and communities across the South and the nation,” said Gordon.
Among the guests and dignitaries coming from far and wide this weekend is Rosie Carpenter. Mrs. Carpenter, who is now in her nineties, lives in Maryland with her daughter Joyce Dasher, who will be accompanying her to the celebration.
Mrs. Carpenter was a courageous teacher in Greene County who stood up and helped to develop the strategies and organize the precincts to elect the first Black officials. As part of the celebration, a monument will be dedicated at the home she shared with her sister, Annie Thomas, where many of the planning and strategy meetings were held that powered the civil rights movement from the 1960’s into the 1990’s.
On Saturday, July 27, 2019 from 9:00 AM to Noon, three historic monuments will be unveiled and dedicated in Eutaw:
• the first monument will be at Carver School, now the Robert H. Young Community Center, to honor students who boycotted schools in 1965 and started the civil rights and voting rights struggles and movement in Greene County.

• the second monument will be in front of the home of Annie Thomas and Rosie Carpenter, on Highway 14, where strategy sessions were held for the civil rights movement from the 1960’s into the 1990’s.
• the third monument will be placed at the Robert Brown Middle School, formerly Greene County High School to honor Black students who integrated the public schools of Greene County in the 1960’s and early 1970’s.
“We hope these monuments will stand for a long time and be a beacon of light for our children and our children’s children, as they travel to and through Greene County. These monuments show the ‘peoples history of our county’ and many names of those living and deceased are on these markers,” said Lester Cotton, 2nd Vice President of the Movement Museum.
On Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 6:00 PM, at the Eutaw Activity Center, there will be a banquet honoring the foot soldiers that participated in the civil rights and voting rights movement of the 1960’s in Greene County. Among the living leaders who participated in the struggle, who have agreed to attend are: Rosie Carpenter (who now lives in Bowie, Maryland), Bill Edwards (Portland, OR), Atty. Sheryl Cashin (daughter of John Cashin from Washington, D. C.) Fred Taylor, Tyrone Brooks, and Dexter Wimbush (Georgia), Wendell H. Paris (Jackson, MS), Judge John England, Hank Sanders, Sen. Bobby Singleton and many other dignitaries.
On Sunday July 28, 2019, at 4:00 PM there will be a Freedom Rally, honoring the fallen Black political leaders of Greene County, at the William M. Branch Courthouse in Eutaw. The rally will be followed by a fish-fry and watermelon eating fellowship meeting on the grounds of the old Courthouse in Eutaw.
“We invite the public including all community and business leaders – Black and White – to attend. This is an opportunity to honor grassroots community leaders who had the courage to believe they could change and make this community a better place to live, work and worship. We have made a half century of progress but with full participation and unity the next fifty years will be easier and more productive for all,” said Gordon.
For more information and to support the Freedom Day 50th anniversary celebration, contact: Spiver Gordon, Alabama Civil Rights Museum Movement, Inc., P. O. Box 385, Eutaw, Alabama 35462; phone 205-372-3446; email: spiverwgordon@hotmail.com.

Dr. Jones introduces new administrators at Robert Brown Middle School Superintendent Jones indicates need to improve student performance on standardized tests

Shown L toR: Brittany Harris Assistant Principal and Shwanta Owens Principal at  Robert Brown Middle School

At his first official school board meeting, held Monday, July 15, 2019, as Greene County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Corey Jones presented a summary of the Scantron Series Performance Data on Reading and Math in grades 3-8 from the 2018-2019 school year. “I want everyone to see just where we are,” Jones stated. He further indicated that we are in the process of developing a plan to improve student performance on standardized tests and will be utilizing the Scantron Assessment as a bench mark assessment. “This is an approach supported by the Alabama State Department of Education,” Jones said.
Superintendent Jones presented the new Administrative Leadership at Robert Brown Middle School. At the June 10, 2019 school board meeting, Ms. Shwanta Owens of Hueytown, AL and Ms. Brittany Harris of Demopolis, Al, were selected respectively as Principal and Assistant Principal at RBM beginning this 2019-2020 school term. Each greeted the board and attendees, pledging to work diligently in the best interest of the students and the school system.
Dr. Jones also announced that school uniform policies will still be in place for the upcoming school year, as well as the special dress codes for the 9th Grade Academy. He stated that specific information would be placed on the web site, in local media and distributed otherwise to parents and community.

The personnel items recommended by the superintendent and approved by the board include the following:

  • Re-Hire: Jacqueline Raby, School Nurse, for the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Resignations: Tamecisha Abrams, Grade Teacher, Eutaw Primary School, effective, July 1, 2019, and Miakka Taylor, English Language Arts Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School, effective July 11, 2019; Jeffery Noland, Social Science Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School.
  • Employment – Eutaw Primary School: Chandra Toney, 3rd Grade Teacher, Re-hire; Jameka Jackson Sutton, Kindergarten Teacher; Lurena Smith, Kindergarten Teacher, Re-hire; Sandra Artis, Pre-K Teacher; Domonique McDaniels, 3rd Grade Teacher.
  • Employment – Robert Brown Middle School: Ashley Harrison, 4th Grade Teacher; Latausha Mitchell, 5th Grade Teacher; Ashley Moody 7th Grade English Teacher, Re-hire; Chardell Fredd, 8th Grade Science Teacher; Leanita Hunt, 5th Grade Teacher.
  • Voluntary Transfer: Janice Jeames, from Physical Science Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School to Science Teacher at Greene County High School.
  • Employment – Department of Transportation: Latasha Lewis, School Bus Driver; Carla Russell, School Bus Driver.
  • Transfer of Employee: Gloria Lyons from the position of Cafeteria Manager at Greene County High School to Cook at Greene County High School.
  • Hire: Jacqueline Edwards, Part-time Janitor.
    The board approved the following Additional Service Contracts for the following employees at Greene County High School for the 2019 – 2020 academic year. (Separate Contract):
  • Rodney Wesley, Head Basketball Coach; Danielle Sanders, Head Girls Basketball Coach; Brittany January, Assistant Girls Basketball Coach; Janice Jeames, Girls Softball / Volleyball Coach; Corey Cockrell, Head Football Coach; Fentress Means, Assistant Football Coach; Jacob Sullivan, Head Baseball Coach; Linda Little, Cheerleader Sponsor.
    The board approved Additional Service contract(s) for the following employees at Robert
    Brown Middle School for the 2019 – 2020 academic year. (Separate Contract):
  • Henry Miles, Head Football Coach; Jacob Sullivan Assistant Football Coach; Jeffery Wesley, Head Basketball Coach; Corey Cockrell, Assistant Basketball Coach; Dorris Robinson, Cheerleader Sponsor.
    The board approved the following Administrative Service Items:
  • Authorization to remove Dr. James H. Carter as an Authorized Board Representative and signer on all Greene County Board of Education accounts.
  • Authorization to add Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones as Representative and signer on all Greene County Board of Education accounts.
  • Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and Helping Hands Therapy to provide Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy for the 2016 – 2017 school year.
  • Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and Deonna Blalock, to provide school psychometric services for the 2019-2020 school year.

Two-day celebration planned for 50th anniversary of ‘Greene Co. Freedom Day’, July 29, 1969, when Black people were elected to take control of county government

NDPA Political Planning Session
L to R: Rev. Peter Kirskey, School Board Member, Rev. William M. Branch Probate Judge candidate, Malcom Branch, Judge Branch’s son, Greene County Commissioner Franchie Burton, Dr. John Cashin, NDPA President, Rev. Thomas Gilmore, Sheriff Candidate, County Commissioner Levi Morrow, Sr., and County Commissioner Harry Means. The group shown here is meeting in a planning session for the special election for Greene County in 1968. (The Afro-American Newspaper in Baltimore MD.)
Packed courtroom on hand for the oath taking ceremony for Greene County Commissioners and school board members listened intently as Circuit Court Judge Emmett Hildreth read a six page speech in which he lists achievements of past administrations and county bank balance. Newly elected Black officials were joined by fifth commissioner, Dennis Herndon, Probate Judge and other school board members in 1969. ( AFRO Staff Photos  By Irving H. Phillips of The Afro- American Newspaper in Baltimore MD.)

Special to the
Democrat by: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

“We will be holding a two day celebration of the 50th anniversary of Greene County Freedom Day – July 29, 1969 – when a Special Election was held in the county that elected the first four Black County Commissioners and two additional Black school board members, which gave Black people control of the major agencies of government,” said Spiver W. Gordon, President of the Alabama Civil Rights Museum Movement in Eutaw, Alabama.
This special election in the summer of 1969 was ordered by the United States Supreme Court when the names of Black candidates, running on the National Democratic Party of Alabama (NDPA), were deliberately left off the November 1968 General Election ballot by the ruling white political officials of the time. The special election of July 29, 1969 allowed Black voters, many newly registered under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, who were the majority in Greene County to have their say in a free and democratic election.
This was a historic event, which heralded a change in political power across the Alabama Black Belt and began a generational shift in the political power in Greene County that has continued for fifty years.
“As part of our commemorative celebration on the weekend of July 27 and 28, 2019, we will be unveiling and dedicating three monuments with the names of the ordinary people who made extraordinary contributions to changing the history of Greene County, the Alabama Black Belt, the South and the nation,” said Gordon.
The three monuments will be dedicated on Saturday morning, July 27, 2019 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon.
The first monument will be for the Carver High School Class of 1965 and other Greene County school students, who boycotted classes and closed the schools to demonstrate against segregated schools and unacceptable civil rights conditions in Greene County at that time. The Class of 1965 closed the schools for the remainder of the spring 1965 semester and there was no formal graduation that year. Many of the students received a “Freedom Diploma” signed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph D. Abernathy and James Orange, at Brown’s Chapel Church in Selma, Alabama later in the summer.
The monument at the former Carver High School, now the Robert H. Cook Community Center, features the names of over 120 young people that took part in the school boycott and demonstrations of 1965, which led to the voting rights and election struggles later in that decade.
The second monument will be placed in front of ‘The Freedom House’, home of the late Annie Thomas and Rosie Carpenter on Highway 14 in Eutaw. These two courageous sisters, one a businesswoman and the other a school teacher, allowed their home to be used, starting in the 1960’s and continuing into the 1990’s for strategy sessions and political action planning meetings related to the civil and voting rights struggles of Greene County.
The third monument to be placed in front of the current Robert Brown Middle School and former Greene County High School site, to honor the young African-American students who first integrated the schools of Greene County in the 1960’s. The names of 45 or more persons are on this marker.
On Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 6:00 PM there will be a banquet honoring the foot soldiers who participated in the civil rights and voting rights movement of the 1960’s in Greene County. Among the living leaders who participated in the struggle, who have agreed to attend are: Rosie Carpenter (who now lives in Bowie, Maryland), Bill Edwards (Portland, OR), Atty. Sheryl Cashin (daughter of John Cashin from Washington, D. C.) Fred Taylor, Tyrone Brooks, and Dexter Wimbush (Georgia), Wendell H. Paris (Jackson, MS), Judge John England, Hank Sanders, Sen. Bobby Singleton and many other dignitaries.
On Sunday July 28, 2019, at 4:00 PM there will be a Freedom Rally, honoring the fallen Black political leaders of Greene County, at the William M. Branch Courthouse in Eutaw.
The rally will be followed by a fish-fry and watermelon eating fellowship meeting on the grounds of the old Courthouse in Eutaw.
For more information and to support the Freedom Day 50th anniversary celebration, contact: Spiver Gordon, Alabama Civil Rights Museum Movement, Inc., P. O. Box 385, Eutaw, Alabama 35462; phone 205-372-3446;
email:
spiverwgordon@
hotmail.com

“The Church of Yesteryear” Play – a smashing success

The Church of Yesteryear, an original play, written by Eutaw native, Carrie L Coleman, had its premier performance this past Saturday at the Carver Middle School gym. The photo above shows the full cast taking their bows at the end of the play.

An enthusiastic audience of 250 or more local residents viewed and enjoyed the almost two hour play, which featured many local residents in starring roles. The play includes many musical moments when the assembled church congregation/cast and audience sing gospel favorites and hymns.

The play is about the religious rituals and colorful characters that made up the Black church experience of the past with some relevance to the present day.

The play was presented as a benefit with all proceeds from ticket sales and donations going to the Greene County Health System Foundation.

Forkland observes 200 Bicentennial with Old Town Festival Celebration

Sites in Forkland, AL

In observance of the Alabama 200 Bicentennial celebration, Forkland held an Old Town Forkland Festival featuring stories of Forkland long ago, narratives by John Vester, festival coordinator. Stories included Burwick Legare, Wimp Glover, St. John Episcopal Church, First United Baptist Church, Mary Barton’s Store. (Ms. Mary Barton was married to Rev. George Barton. They owned a store on Main Street in Forkland. This was often the meeting place for folk on Saturday and on Sunday after Church. Ms. Barton was a pillar of the community and many people confided in her for direction and advice. Her reign in Forkland covered the 1930s thru 1960s).
George Barton collected the Forkland mail to be delivered to the U.S. mail system by transporting the mail to the railroad depot. He hauled the mail using his dedicated mule, “ Alabama”.
Stories were told about Rosemount, Tent City, and Bunker Boy. Bunker Boy spent many of his days in Forkland during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. He could take a small amplifier guitar and a box and make it sound like a whole band was in the room. It was something to see him break the head off of a bottle to make a slide for his guitar.He would gently rub the slide on a concrete block until it no longer had a sharpe edge.  He would jam his finger in the slide and begin to play the sweetest blues you ever heard.  His blues floated through the night from Mr. Bake Croxton’s shot house to all the folk in the Miconnico Creek and Tombigbee River area. He played every shot house and juke joint in the Forkland area for years.
Other stories included Tate Farms and Asphalt Co, The Legend of Rube Burrows, Bear, David Vester “Captain Dave”, Ned Gayles Blacksmith Shop, Shark Teeth, Shelton’s Café, Prairie Shrimp Farms, Curtis Taylor Farms, Hundred Dollar Evans and Hay Art.
Photos of local legacies were also displayed. The crowd marveled at photos of days long ago, featuring Rev. D. Thomas Gilmore, first Black Sheriff of Greene County also known as the Sheriff without a Gun; Rev. William Mckinley Branch, first Black Probate Judge in the United State, known as A Tough Piece of Leather Well Put Together.
There were photos of Jim Isaac, Jr., the first mayor of the incorporated town of Forkland, around 1975 /1976. Since then, the town of Forkland has had five Mayors: William M. Branch, Eddie Woods, Derrick Biggs, Ollie Vester and current Mayor Charlie McAlpine.
Other photos on display included Ned Gayles, David Vester, Sr., Bertha Shelton- Vester, the late Thomas James Vester, Rev. Robert Davis and many more.
The Old Town Forkland Festival also featured DJ Ice Man and Little Jerry Jenkins. Food venders provided good hot catfish and hotdogs. United Farmers Market was also present with fresh home ground fruits and vegetables. John Vester stated: “ We had a good turn out this year, next year reunions will be bigger and better.”

Newswire : Ava DuVernay’s Central Park Five Documentary debuts on Netflix

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent@StacyBrownMedia

Scene from ‘Central Park Five’


The morning after Ava DuVernay’s four-part Netflix miniseries about the Central Park Five, “When They See Us,” premiered at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, she was in a daze. “I don’t drink, and I don’t do any other kinds of substances,” she told Rolling Stone, “but I think I have a hangover.”
She had the headache, but also the hazy memory of the community she’d felt the previous night, screening her labor of love in the neighborhood that raised the five teenagers wrongfully convicted of brutally raping jogger Trisha Meili on April 19, 1989.
It was a whirlwind of fellowship that involved “a lot of smiles, hugs, and a lot of tears,” DuVernay said.
“When They See Us,” debuts on Netflix on Friday, May 31.
The true and gripping tale of five boys of color between the ages of 14 and 16 who were forced to falsely confess to the rape of a white woman in New York’s Central Park, has received critical acclaim with reviewers noting that it’s “impassioned,” and “moving.”
One critic said it’s “must-see TV.”
We already have a category of movies that we expect to artfully, if painfully edify – think of 12 Years a Slave, or Schindler’s List – but we’re not acculturated to it on television, said Willa Paskin of Slate Magazine.
On April 19, 1989, the lives of Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, and Korey Wise changed forever.
News media described them as “a wolf pack,” and “animals,” and then-citizen Donald Trump took out a full-page ad in four New York City area newspapers attacking the youth and calling for the return of the death penalty.
Decades after they’d been exonerated, Trump still has refused to rescind his damning words against the men and he even denounced a multi-million civil settlement reached between New York City and the five men.
“Trump was the fire starter,” Salaam said. “Common citizens were being manipulated and swayed into believing that we were guilty.”
The police-coerced confessions were the only evidence against them, but racism made the boys convenient scapegoats and metaphors for all that had gone wrong in a stratified, corrupt, crime-ridden, rape-infested, and fearful New York City, according to Slate.
DuVernay, who took on the project after Santana suggested it to her via tweet, wants to dramatize what the criminal justice system and New York City stole from these innocent teenagers.
The series begins on the day of the rape. Antron (Caleel Harris and, as an adult, Jovan Adepo), Raymond (Marquis Rodriguez and Freddy Miyares), Kevin (Asante Blackk and Justin Cunningham) , Yusef (Ethan Herisse and Chris Chalk), and Korey (Jharrel Jerome) are going about their regular lives: talking about the Yankees with a father and dreaming of becoming a shortstop; kissing a girlfriend; lugging an instrument around after school.
Though they don’t know each other particularly well, they all wind up in a group of about 25 boys who head into the park that night, where some goof around, while others harass bikers or a homeless guy.
The police descend, arresting a handful of them, but the cops don’t consider any of them suspects in anything particularly serious.
That changes after the rape victim is discovered in the early hours of the morning and Assistant District Attorney Linda Fairstein decides the boys’ presence in the park that night can’t be a coincidence.
Despite there being no physical evidence that the boys were involved, the police set out to make the facts fit the theory of the case. They start trying to get confessions and names, which they use to pick up additional suspects.
Korey Wise, whose name is not on the police’s list, goes down to the precinct with Yusef just to be a good friend. He won’t leave police custody for more than a decade.
For his act of kindness, he will spend years at Rikers Island awaiting trial and then 13 years in an adult prison, the only one of the five who was 16 and so sentenced as an adult.
When Rolling Stone noted that this story had never been told from the perspective of the five men, DuVernay said she started just speaking with the men first.
“That was my first way in. And from there I folded in all of the court transcripts, different records and files that we were able to get a hold of through public means or private transfer,” DuVernay said.
“We then read every single stitch of press coverage to really get an understanding of the ways in which this was being reported, to understand the propaganda around this case. You know, there was a study done that 89 percent of the articles that were written at the time, by the New York papers, didn’t even use the word ‘alleged,’” DuVernay said.
She continued:
“I also talked with academics to get underneath the state of New York City at the time. What were the political motivations?
“But it always came back to the men and then their families. Over a four-year period, it was just exhaustive. Interviews, but sometimes just spending time. Lunches, dinners, just getting to know them. Sometimes it’s the little things more than just the core stories.”

Newswire : African National Congress sees victory in May 8 South African election while acknowledging mistakes

ANC political rally

May 6, 2019 (GIN) – Three political parties are pulling out all the stops to win the last undecided voters going to the polls on May 8 to elect the nation’s leaders.

The three are running in a field of 48. The long-ruling ANC (since 1994) is expected to vanquish the competition despite having let down much of the electorate with a slew of high-profile corruption scandals.

At the party’s final rally at a stadium in Johannesburg, President Cyril Ramaphosa, confessed: “We made mistakes (yet) we put ourselves before our people and say, Yes, we have made mistakes, but it is only those who are doing nothing who don’t make mistakes.”

According to some analysts, however, voters are seriously conflicted.

“I don’t think there’s a clear choice because the main parties, and even some of the smaller parties are bringing enormous baggage into this election in terms of their own internal dynamics,” Ivor Sarakinsky of the University of the Witwatersrand told the BBC.

“We focus on the ANC’s baggage and dynamics, but all the parties have their own baggage. The Democratic Alliance and the controversies in terms of internal leadership, the Economic Freedom Fighters in terms of internal leadership and questions about financial flows into the party. There’s controversy around all of them.”

“Why are these elections important?” asked Vauldi Carelse, a young BBC reporter asked in a Twitter video. “It’s 25 years since all races were allowed to vote for the first time.

“There are 26 million voters but 6 million young eligible people did not register. So what are the battleground issues? Jobs, land ownership, public services – or lack thereof, crime, race. Yes, a generation of from the fall of apartheid, race remains a divisive issue in South Africa.”

Meanwhile, South Africans living abroad are also voting in this 2019 general election. South African citizens living abroad went to the polls last Saturday. According to the Independent Electoral Commission, there are 29 000 eligible voters living abroad and this democratic exercise has been their most successful since 1994.

Isa Mdingi, a South African voting in China, wrote on Twitter: “As a young person in the Diaspora I will be casting my vote at the Beijing mission. 25 years ago on April 27, people of South Africa cast their votes for the 1sttime. 25 years later I will be casting mine too! What a time to be alive!”

BBCF awards $60,000 for community arts projects

Shown L to R: Lillian Wideman, Arts Grants Committee Chairperson; Spiver Gordon, President Alabama Civil Rights Education and Freedom Museum; Carol P. Zippert, Director of the Society of Folk Arts & Culture; Teresa Atkins, President of Broader Horizons-Brighter Futures and Darlene Robinson, BBCF Board Chairperson.

In a ceremony held Saturday, April 27, 2019, the Black Belt Community Foundation awarded 19 arts grants to community groups in its 12 county service area, totaling $60,000. Seventeen of the grant awards ranged from $1,500 to $3,000. Two of the awards were for community Arts Education Projects which received $10,000 each.In Greene County three project were awarded a total of $7,500. The Society of Folk Arts & Culture received $3,000 toward the production of the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival. Broader Horizons-Brighter Futures received $3,000 to implement an arts appreciation program for youth and adults. The Alabama Civil Rights Education Center and Freedom Museum received $1,500 toward equipment and supplies to preserve museum holdings.
The Arts Education Grants of $10,000 each were awarded to Bullock County Social Justice Foundation to support a year long program teaching music theory, instruments and performing to students and adults and to the Hale County Library to support a year-long Natural Dye and Textile Workshop incorporating history and science to students and adults.
Grants awarded to counties in BBCF’s service area included Choctaw County $2,000; Bullock County $2,550; Dallas County $6,000; Lowndes County $3,000; Macon County $6,000; Marengo County $2,200; Perry County $2,000; WilcoxCounty $5,680.