Commission approves County Rd. 60 bridge replacement; fails to make appointment to Greene County Water Board

The Greene County Commission met in regular session, Monday, May 9, 2022 with all commissioners present. Following the usual protocols including welcome to visitors, invocation, action on previous minutes and the agenda, the body accepted the financial reports presented without further discussion since these had been throughly reviewed at the commission’s work session, held Wednesday, May 4, 2022. The previous minutes and the current agenda were approved.
Under new business, the commission approved payment of claims for April, 2022, totaling $976,194.48. The electronic claims paid for April, including with holdings and retirements, totaled $82,236.83. The county’s bank balances for April are as follows: Citizen Trust Bank – $6,099,090.13; Merchant & Farmers – $5,229,339.67; Bond Sinking Funds – $724,492.25.
Following an executive session, the commission considered an appointment for the Greene County Water Authority, but failed to secure sufficient votes for any of the three candidates nominated, including Mr. Andrew Woods, who received two votes; Mr. Joe L. Powell, who received one vote and Mrs. Ester Austin, who also received one vote. Consideration of the appointment was then tabled.
On other agenda items, the commission took the following action:
* Awarded bid to Glasgow Construction for bridge replacement on County Road 60 over Little Creek in the amount of $596,363.18, authorizing the Chairman to sign all necessary documents.
*Appointed the Commission Chairperson to serve on the ACCA Legislative Committee.
* Approved the purchase of a full page ad in the Greene County Democrat’s annul Graduation Edition, honoring 2022 graduates from the Greene County School System.
* Approved travel for County Engineer and Assistant Engineer to attend conferences scheduled during month of June.

COVID-19

As of May 2, 2022, at 10:00 AM
(According to Alabama Political Reporter)

Alabama had 1,301,171 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(2,034) more than last week with 19,570 deaths (29) more
than last week)

Greene County had 1,875 confirmed cases, (2) more cases than last week), with 48 deaths

Sumter Co. had 2,586 cases with 51 deaths

Hale Co. had 4,731 cases with 106 deaths

Note: has testing and vaccination for COVID-19; Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142; ages 5 and up.

Vice-President Kamala Harris joins thousands to commemorate 57th. Anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’ and calls for the resurrection of the Voting Rights Act and end to voter suppression

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at foot of Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma
Spiver W. Gordon walks with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg

Special to the Democrat by John Zippert, Co-Publisher


Vice-President of the United States, Kamala Harris, was the keynote speaker at a rally at the foot of the Edmond Pettus Bridge, in Selma, Alabama on Sunday March 6, 2022, to mark the 57th anniversary of the ‘Bloody Sunday’ March, which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Harris and many other civil rights and U. S. cabinet officials said it was critical to commemorate this anniversary because Black, Brown, poor and young people had a better chance to vote in 1965, after passage of the Voting Rights Act, than they have today, when the right to vote is under challenge, as part of a larger attack on democracy.

“In 2020, despite the pandemic, we had a record turnout of voters, which helped to elect President Biden and myself. As a result, the Republicans have launched an assault on the freedom to vote. They have passed and are working on passing legislation in over 30 states to make it more difficult to vote.

“Every Republican Senator voted against passage of the John Lewis Freedom to Vote Act, when it came up for a vote earlier this year. We have no choice, we must stand and fight for the right to vote and we must fight with determination, even in the face of arcane rules, like the filibuster,” said Harris.

The Vice-President was accompanied to Selma by her husband, Doug Emhoff, the second gentleman, and five Biden Administration cabinet members, including: HUD Secretary, Marcia Fudge, Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, Michael Regan, Environmental Protection Agency head and Donald Remy, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

After her talk, she joined a group of three hundred civil rights leaders, local foot-soldiers, public officials, cabinet members and others at the front of the march across the bridge. Over 10,000 or more other marchers, who had started from Browns Chapel Church, followed behind a line of Secret Service, law enforcement and other security officials protecting the Vice-President and five cabinet officials, who traveled to Selma with Harris and also spoke at the rally.

Sunday’s march re-enactment and protest for revitalizing the Voting Rights Act came at the end of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee weekend, which featured more than 30 activities including a parade, banquet, several breakfasts, many workshops, a golf tournament and other related events.

“The Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee is the largest civil rights and voting rights activity in our nation. Some of our activities were virtual and others were curtailed and impacted by the pandemic, but we still had large crowds of engaged people, which was our goal,” said Hank Sanders, cofounder with his wife Faya Rose Toure (Sanders) of the Jubilee, more than 30 years ago.

Many of the speakers, related the struggle for voting rights in our country, to the struggle to defeat the Russian invasion of Ukraine and preserve democracy in that eastern European country.
Sherrilyn Ifill, Director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, after recounting the attacks on voting rights by the Supreme Count and state legislatures, said, “What we do in Selma, in Washington, D. C., Fulton County, Georgia, will have global implications. Black people must save democracy and we must make our country better.”

Latosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter said, “We are winning, we voted in record numbers in 2020. The turnout was younger, browner and more diverse than ever. This is what generated the attacks on voting rights and this is why we must continue to fight.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson, assisted by his son Jonathan Jackson, Bishop William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign, Barbara Arnwine of the Transformative Justice Coalition, Derrick Johnson, NAACP, Melanie Campbell of the Black Women’s Roundtable, Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, Charles Steele of SCLC, Congresswoman Terri Sewell and many other members of the Black Congressional Caucus were present and gave remarks.

Many of the civil rights leaders were in town for the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, because they agreed to work jointly to continue the march from Selma to Montgomery, this week (March 7-11). They felt the necessity to illuminate the challenges to the Voting Rights Act and engage people in the 2022 mid-term elections to work for passage of the John Lewis Voter Advancement Act, in future sessions of Congress.

Newswire : With her Speedskating Gold Medal, Erin Jackson hopes to inspire more Black girls in winter sports

2022 Beijing Olympics – Speed Skating – Women’s 500m – National Speed Skating Oval, Beijing, China – February 13, 2022. Gold Medallist Erin Jackson of the United States celebrates on the podium during the flower ceremony. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

 

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

 

While the Super Bowl expectedly received all the attention in the sports world on Sunday, February 13, the Winter Olympics provided a most historical moment. Erin Jackson became the first Black woman to win a speedskating medal when she took home the Gold during the 500 meters speedskating event.

Jackson’s time of 37.04 seconds gave the American speedskating program its first medal at the Games in Beijing. It marked the first individual medal by an American in a dozen years.

“Hopefully, this has an effect. Hopefully, we’ll see more minorities, especially in the USA, getting out and trying these winter sports,” Jackson, 29, declared.

A day after her historic medal victory, Jackson reflected on how she received her golden opportunity. She noted that Team USA flag bearer Brittany Bowe, a childhood friend, surrendered her spot in the 500-meter so Jackson could take her place.

“She was just saying she’s so proud of me,” Jackson said of Bowe during a nationally televised interview. “We did it,” she exclaimed. “Yeah, it was pretty wild.” Bowe declared that Jackson had earned the right to compete. “She’s ranked No. 1 in the world,” Bowe told NBC News.
“No one is more deserving than [Jackson] to get an opportunity to bring Team USA home a medal.”

Hailing from Ocala, Florida, Jackson said she’s roller skated for as long as she could remember. She pursued inline speedskating in 2002, roller derby in 2012, and long-track speedskating in 2017.

A 2015 cum laude graduate of the University of Florida Honors Program, Jackson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Science & Engineering.

Just two years later, Jackson transitioned from inline skating to speedskating on ice, where she quickly qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

She also earned an AS in Computer Science from Salt Lake Community College in 2020 and continues her work toward an AS in Exercise Science/Kinesiology.

Jackson said she wants to inspire other African American girls. “I just hope [her gold medal win] sparks something,” Jackson stated. “Maybe a young Black girl saw my race or something, and she’s like, ‘Oh. Maybe I should try this.’ That would be amazing, even if it’s just one person.”

KeUndra Cox seeks District 72 State Representative seat

My name is Ke’Undra Cox, I am from Eutaw, Alabama. And I am honored to announced that I am running for the office of State Representative for Alabama 72nd House District. I have always had a desire to serve the people . As early as I can remember, I was eager to do my part to help in any way I could. When I was a young boy, I proudly joined the boy scouts. I took pride in serving my community. When I graduated  high school, I  knew I wanted to enter a career that would allow me to continue to serve the people. So, in 2018, I enlisted in the United  States Air Force Reserve. I raised my right hand, and I swore an oath to the Constitution and to the American people that I would protect and serve this great nation.
As a airman, I learned the important of service before self.  I learned that real leadership is not about personal gain, but is about the greater good of the people you serve. And now I want to  serve the people  of District 72. I want to be  the type of person that the people can trust. I want  them know that they can always rely on me . I will remind engaged not just during election time but every single day. Our people deserve better. And now is the time for us to unite, and fight for a better future. Together we will succeed.
I am asking for your vote in the 2022 General Election on November 8. My allegiance is not to a political party, but to the people of District 72.

Dallas County Courthouse Annex named and dedicated to Attorneys J. L. Chestnut and Bruce Carver Boynton

By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

On Tuesday, September 14, 2021 there was a ceremony held in Selma, Alabama, to dedicate and name the Dallas County Courthouse Annex for two civil rights attorneys who were born and worked much of their lives in Selma and the Alabama Black Belt.

The dedication was attended by more than 200 people from the area and others whose lives were touched by the two men. This program culminated a ten-year effort by Black community groups and leaders to name the judicial building for the two pioneering attorneys, who paved the way for many other Black lawyers, judges and clients to be successful in their life endeavors.

The Dallas County Commission, elected in November 2020, which had a Black majority for the first time in modern history, agreed to the naming of the Courthouse Annex for the two attorneys, at their first meeting. It took an additional nine months to complete the task and hold the unveiling ceremony. 

The five Commission members, including Chairperson, Jimmy Nunn, the Probate Judge, and Commissioners Connel Towns, Vivian Rogers, Curtis Williams and Jan Justice (the only white member) were all present and along with family members from the Chestnut and Boynton families, pulled a plastic covering off the naming lettering on the Courthouse wall, to unveil the shining new name of the facility.

Attorney J. L. Chestnut returned to Selma in 1958, from Howard University Law School, to practice law for half a century in his home town.
During the 1960’s Chestnut represented many civil rights and voting rights leaders who were involved with and arrested as part of the Civil Rights Movement.

4th. District Circuit Judge Collins Pettaway Jr. noted in his remarks that 

“Attorney Chestnut sued to have Blacks seated on juries, in this very building, where we now hold jury trials, which is now named for him.” At one point in the program there were fifteen Black judges in robes, from around Alabama, who stood up to honor the two attorneys for whom the building is now named. Chestnut headed the largest Black law-firm in the state of Alabama, Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders and Pettaway in the 1990’s and paved the way for many Black lawyers to practice in the state.

J. L. Chestnut was the lead attorney in the Pigford I and II class action cases by Black farmers against the U. S. Department of Agriculture for discrimination in agricultural lending. He won this largest discrimination settlement against the Federal government of over $2.5 Billion, for thousands of Black farmers. His work on the Pigford cases inspired Native Americans, Hispanics and Women farmers to sue and reach settlements with the Federal government.

Bruce Carver Boynton also attended Howard Law School. On his way home at Christmas 1958, he went to the white-only lunch counter, because it was cleaner, in the segregated Richmond, Virginia bus station to get a snack. He was arrested and convicted for trespassing. Attorney Thurgood Marshall appealed his case to the U. S.  Supreme Court and won a judgement in 1960 which opened the way to desegregate bus stations and other facilities linked to interstate travel. It took the Freedom Rides of the 1960’s to enforce the decision that Boynton had won from the Supreme Court.

After Boynton graduated from Howard Law School, he returned to Alabama, but the State Bar denied him a license for six years, while they supposedly investigated his case. He practiced in Chattanooga, Tennessee,

Washington, D. C. and Selma, Alabama.

Many speakers and dignitaries who had worked with both attorneys spoke on the program, including Selma Mayor James Perkins, retired Judge John H. England, who was master of ceremonies for the program, former Governor Don Siegleman, Melinda Williams, Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Terri Sewell and many others. Attorney Fay Rose Toure, a partner of Attorney J. L. Chestnut, led a litany to honor both, which involved the audience in praising their character and accomplishments.

The Freedom Riders Museum in Montgomery and the Alabama Historical Commission presented framed resolutions to the Boynton family for his working in integrating public accommodations. The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund presented a framed resolution to the Chestnut family for his work on behalf of Black farmers.

Senator Malika Sanders-Fortier of Selma was the final speaker. She thanked everyone for coming to honor the two attorneys and then said, “Today we celebrate making the impossible possible! It was a miracle from God that enabled these lawyers to do what they did and make the changes they made. Little Black girls and boys today still need miracles. Their work and our work is not yet done. Despite every obstacle put in our path, we must keep working to make the impossible possible.”

Federation holds 54th Annual Meeting; honors Marian Wright Edelman

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund held its fifty-fourth Annual Meeting, on a virtual basis over three days, August 19-21, 2021. The Federation started in 1967 by cooperatives and credit unions that were developed during the Civil Rights Movement is now the premier organization representing 75 cooperatives and 10,000 remaining Black farmers in the South. On Thursday evening, the Federation honored Marian Wright Edelman, emeritus director of the Children’s Defense Fund, with its Estelle Witherspoon Lifetime Achievement Award, for her service to low-income people, especially children. Edelman is also a long-time columnist in the Greene County Democrat. This was the twentieth time the Federation awarded its highest award, named for Estelle Witherspoon, former Manager of the Freedom Quilting Bee of Wilcox County and an original incorporator of the Federation. The award was accepted by Oleta Fitzgerald, a long-time colleague of Marian Wright Edelman. On Friday, the Federation hosted a panel of representatives of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on programs and benefits available to Black and family sized farmers, like those in the Federation’s membership. The panel was highlighted by its first speaker, Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture. Vilsack said he was working to “include more equity and diversity in the internal operations, staffing and programs of USDA. He introduced several Black and people of color, that he had selected to serve in leadership positions within USDA. The Secretary also announced the availability of $67 million in funding for an “Heirs Property Re-lending Program” which will assist families facing problems in clearing title to agricultural land, left by deceased relatives, who did not make wills. The Federation worked to get provisions for this program included in the 2018 Farm Bill but the Trump Administration failed to issue regulations to implement the program. The Secretary indicated that he expected the Federation, among others groups, to apply for these funds to implement a stronger program of heirs property assistance. The Secretary also spoke to the assistance for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers in Sections 1005 and 1006 of the American Rescue Plan. The $4 billion of debt relief promised in Section 1005 has been held-up by lawsuits filed by White farmers in 13 Federal Court districts, who charge that the program discriminates against them. Vilsack said USDA was fighting the lawsuits and would continue the moratorium on foreclosures until the legal matters were resolved. He also said that he was working to implement Section 1006 which will provide benefits to BIPOC farmers as Congress intended. Agency heads from Farm Services Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Forestry Service, Rural Development, APHIS, Agricultural Marketing Service and others also spoke about their programs, services and benefits tailored to BIPOC farmers. On Saturday, the Federation held a prayer breakfast followed by a business meeting. Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director, reported that despite many challenges the organization was financially stable, staffed and ready to assist its members in growing and having greater success as farmers, fishers and workers in the coming post-pandemic economy. The Federation also award six young people, affiliated with Federation member organizations with a $1,000 college scholarship, named for Anulet Pat Jackson, a former staff member. The scholarships have been funded on an annual basis for the past ten years by Sharing Inc. Pam Madzima, Alabama State Coordinator for the Federation, said, “We have awarded 75 young people scholarships through this program. Many have gone on to complete their studies and serve their communities.”

Newswire: Civil Rights legend Bob Moses dies at 86

Bob Moses

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Robert Parris Moses, one of America’s foremost civil rights leaders who stood fearless in the face of violence to register African American voters in the South, has died at the age of 86. His daughter, Maisha Moses, announced his death.

Often clad in denim overalls, Moses drew comparisons to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The depth and scale of Moses’ courage proved legendary. His activism drew the ire of White supremacists, but minorities and the oppressed hailed him as a pioneer. Moses famously noted the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) Ella Baker as an inspiration.

In a tribute released by the Student Non-Violence Coordinating Committee (SNCC) on Sunday, July 25, SNCC officials said Moses was key to the SNCC launching its voter registration campaign in Mississippi.

That work led to Freedom Schools, the 1964 Summer Project, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, the Poor People’s Campaign, and the Mississippi Freedom Labor Union.

“And these not only began to alter the face of Mississippi but also challenged the country to be true to the best in itself,” the SNCC wrote in its tribute.

They continued: “At the heart of these efforts was SNCC’s idea that people – ordinary people long denied this power – could take control of their lives. These were the people that Bob brought to the table to fight for a seat: maids, sharecroppers, day workers, barbers, beauticians, teachers, preachers, and many others from all walks of life.”

The statement continued: “The Algebra Project [Moses] founded in 1982 is a direct outgrowth of this early work in Mississippi. The project’s work aims to prepare those still kept on the bottom rungs of our society for success in the information economy of the 21st century.

“Finally, the SNCC Legacy Project want to issue a call on behalf of Bob and other SNCC veterans like Julian Bond, John Lewis, Chuck McDew, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ruby Doris Robinson, James Forman, Marion Barry, Ms. Ella Baker, Amzie Moore, Unita Blackwell, and the local people with whom they worked to continue to raise the banner of the continuing struggle for a better world.”

Noted Civil Rights leader and National Newspaper Publishers Association President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., saluted the life and legacy of Moses on behalf of the Black Press of America. “Bob Moses’ entire life was dedicated to freedom, justice, and equality for African Americans and all people,” Dr. Chavis reflected.

“The Black Press of America pauses to express our condolences to the Moses family and to rededicate our journalistic efforts to keep alive the legacy and the vision of Bob Moses.“SNCC does not get enough credit for all of the transformative work that SNCC accomplished in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Long live the spirit of Bob Moses.”

When people would ask what they should do, Moses asked them what they thought; filmmaker Ava DuVernay offered in a quote she credited to political activist Tom Hayden.

“At meetings, he usually sat in the back and spoke last,” DuVernay noted.“He slept on floors, wore overalls, shared the risks, took the blows. ”DuVernay said Moses dug deep.

Imani Perry, the Hughes Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, called Moses her model for organizing. “Principled, intellectual, humble, deliberate, willing to work with all who come, never berating but consistently challenging,” Perry stated. “Fun loving, kind, and a reflective teacher,” she concluded.

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson told the New York Times that Moses exemplified putting community interests above ego and personal interest.

“If you look at his work, he was always pushing local leadership first,” Johnson exclaimed.

Born on Jan. 23, 1935, in Harlem, New York, Moses became a schoolteacher. He later moved to Mississippi and quickly organized civil rights activists to counter actions by the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups.

Despite the violence that African Americans routinely faced when trying to vote, Moses helped register thousands of voters. He trained countless organizers inside the walls of so-called freedom schools to carry out the mission of civil rights.

During one encounter with White supremacists, Moses suffered a severe head injury that required nine stitches. While bloodied, bruised, and nearly unconscious, Moses led a group to a Mississippi courthouse to register them to vote.

When he was 73, Moses told CNN he did not vote for a president in three decades until 2008 for President Barack Obama. “I don’t do politics, but I made sure to vote this time,” Moses said. “Obama is the first person I really felt moved to vote for.”

CNN noted that “Obama called Moses a hero of his, Moses recalled, recounting to an Obama rally he attended where the former President discovered he was in the audience.”

Moses is survived by his wife, Janet, and children Maisha, Omo, Taba, and Malika.