Bicentennial Traveling exhibit coming to Greene County

Making Alabama. A Bicentennial Traveling Exhibit presented by Alabama Humanities Foundation made its long-awaited debut in Montgomery Mach 5, displaying 200 years of Alabama history and beyond. The exhibit opened in the capitol in the Old Supreme Court Library and will be on display through March 30 before going on a 19-month tour, which will include an exhibition in Greene County at Eutaw National Guard Armory from August 16, 2019 – August 28, 2019.
The public is invited to the opening reception Monday, August 19 at 4:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. at the Armory.
This impressive display blends artistic collages, interactive computer tablets and an audio medley of song and spoken word to tell the story of Alabama – from becoming a territory to achieving statehood. It also conveys a message of “Hope” in its presentation about the future.
Beginning in April, the exhibit will be on tour for 19 months, traveling to all 67 of Alabama’s counties. Four exhibits have been built, and they will travel the state concurrently so that all counties will be able to experience this historic event in that time period.
Organizers say AHF was a natural choice for coordinating the traveling exhibit with decades of experience through its partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street traveling exhibit.
“Just like the Smithsonian, where not everyone has the opportunity to view a Smithsonian exhibit in Washington, not everyone can make it to Montgomery to see Alabama Department of Archives and History’s unparalleled ‘Voices’ exhibit,” said AHF Executive Director Armand DeKeyser. “What we are putting together gives them that opportunity.”
In addition, host communities are assembling their own historical exhibits and collateral programming and activities to showcase their own history and put their signature on this event.
“It’s amazing what these communities are planning to celebrate their history and the 200 years of Alabama as a state,” DeKeyser said. “We are honored to be able to be a part of this epic undertaking, and we look forward to the next 19 months as it makes its way through towns and cities across our state.”
In Greene County, plans for the local exhibit and activities include: an open reception on Monday, August 19, 2019 the public is invited.
“It just is a feel-good opportunity to mix and mingle and learn where we come from and how Alabama is progressing and changing,” said Mayor Raymond Steele, City of Eutaw.
“This Bicentennial celebrates the state and the many accomplishments achieved. In addition, it also represents hope for a bright future of America’s finest citizens,” stated Danny Cooper, Chairman of the Greene County Industrial Development Authority and founding member of the Eutaw Garden Club and Downtown Revitalization Committee.
“For us, hosting this celebration exhibit represents the significant role the people of this beautiful west Alabama community, situated in Alabama’s Black Belt, played in the growth and development of our great state,” said Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce President, Beverley Gordon.
Special thanks to the Greene County Commission.
To learn more about this statewide exhibit and scheduling, go to: MakingAlabama.org.

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About the Alabama Humanities Foundation

Alabama Humanities Foundation mission is to foster learning, understanding and appreciation of our people, communities and cultures. As the independent, state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the AHF supports and offers programs that will enhance the minds and enrich the lives of Alabamians.

The Greene County Commission tables Forkland’s request to purchase local park

The Greene County Commission met in regular session, Monday, August 12, 2019 and tabled a request from the Town of Forkland to purchase the Forkland Park. At its work session on the previous week, the commission discussed Forkland’s request to purchase 5.8 acres with the appraised value of $14, 500 ($2,500 per acre). According to Forkland Mayor Charlie McAlpine, the town has secured grant resources to purchase the property and begin revisions and upgrades to the park grounds.
At press time no further information was available as to why that agenda item was tabled.
The County Commission did approve a request from the Greene County Park & Recreation Board to lease 10 acres of county property on Choctaw Road for the sum of $1 per year, with the stipulation the agreement specifies description and location of the 10 acres.
The commission, at its work session on August 7, heard a presentation from Ralph (Rip) Banks, III on the proposed StreetScape Project. Banks’ overview noted that the $600,000 grant that is available the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) for the project will require approximately $160,000 matching funds plus engineering costs. He stated that the Greene County Industrial Development Authority has committed $80,000; the City of Eutaw is asked to contribute another $80,000 and the County is asked to give &70,000.
According to Banks this is the second time such an opportunity has been afforded Eutaw and Greene County. At its August 12 meeting, the commission tabled the request to contribute to the Street Scape Project. No additional information was provided.
The commission acted on the following items:

  • Approved the contract with Delta Computer for the Probate Judge’s office.
  • Approved ratifying the chairman’s action in approving the contract with Knox Pest Control for removal of Bats in the courthouse.
  • Authorized engineer Willie Branch to solicit annual bids for materials.
  • Approved the Rebuild Alabama County Transportation Plan 2020 as presented by Engineer Branch.
  • Approved submission of ATRIP II application.
  • Approved purchase of a GradAll for the County Highway Department.
  • Approved budget amendments.
    The financial reports and the payment of claims report were not available at the meeting.

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 Zimbabwe suffers economic decline

drought conditions in rural Zimbabwe

Aug. 12, 2019 (GIN) – It’s hard to believe how far Zimbabwe has fallen since former President Robert Mugabe was ousted in a military-backed coup.

Power cuts now leave citizens without electricity from dawn to long after dusk. Gas is too expensive so families cook on firewood. Bread is unaffordable. Drought has caused failed harvests. And rising inflation has eaten up pensions, leaving the elderly unable to retire with dignity.

Outside Harare, the humanitarian need is greater. The United Nations says more than five million people – almost a third of the population and almost entirely in rural areas – will be in need of food aid. “This year we have more hungry Zimbabweans than ever before,” said Eddie Rowie, the World Food Program’s country director.

Obert Masaraure, the leader of a union that represents rural teachers, said his 30,000 members had been reduced to “paupers”.

“The learners are walking to school on empty stomachs. They are collapsing in class because they are so weak. The teachers can’t pay for their own children’s education. But people are looting millions,” he said.

It is more than a year and a half since Robert Mugabe was removed in a military takeover, and a year since his former right-hand man, Emmerson Mnangagwa, took power after a contested election. Mugabe, 95, has been receiving medical treatment in Singapore since April, an official statement revealed last week.

Most in Zimbabwe hoped that the transition would lead to a change in fortunes for a country once deemed self-sufficient in maize and a major exporter of beef.

Mnangagwa promised democratic reform, a wave of new investment and the prospect of better relations with foreign powers. At rallies, the 77-year-old Zanu-PF loyalist spoke of his country being “open for business” and promised good days ahead.

But exports hit the skids and a terrible drought ended food self-sufficiency. In this week’s NewsDay Zimbabwe, an editorial relayed the author’s emotions. “Some of us feel sad that 39 years after independence – and as we honor this week thousands of our fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives so that the indigenous people regain control of their land – the country is failing each year to feed itself.

“Our gallant brothers and sisters who shed their blood for this land must be turning in their graves – this is definitely not what they hoped for; that we should be going about with begging bowls for food alms in a land of plenty.”

Meanwhile, on the occasion of Heroes Day, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa said demonstrations would soon begin against the ruling Zanu PF to protest the failing economic situation in the country.

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.

Newswire : Congresswoman Maxine Waters Statement on Capital One Data Breach

Congresswoman Maxine Waters

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, issued the following statement on a data breach which exposed account information of over 100 million Capital One customers.
“This data breach shows that it’s not just big technology companies and credit reporting agencies like Equifax that are vulnerable to hacking and data breaches – big banks are vulnerable targets as well. As this is not the first incident in which Capital One’s customer data was exposed, we need to understand what bank regulators have been doing to ensure that this bank, and other banks, have strong cybersecurity policies and practices. We must also understand what bank regulators are doing to ensure strong oversight of third-party technology providers that banks work with.
“As we learn more about this incident, I plan to work with my colleagues and take action in the Financial Services Committee on legislation to improve oversight of the cybersecurity of financial institutions.
“This massive data breach also underscores how important it is that the consumer credit reporting bills that the Financial Services Committee recently passed become law so that any consumer affected by a data breach is not further harmed. Among other things, the bills the Committee passed ensure that consumers can get a free copy of their credit score, provide better tools for victims of fraud, and make it easier for consumers to get errors on their reports corrected.”
On July 11 and July 16, the Financial Services Committee passed a series of consumer credit reporting bills, including:

H.R. 3642, the “Improving Credit Reporting for All Consumers Act,” introduced by Representative Alma Adams (D-NC)
Rep. Adams’ bill addresses burdens consumers experience when removing errors from their consumer reports, including by providing a new right to appeal the results of initial reviews about the accuracy or completeness of disputed items on the report. The bill empowers consumers by clarifying injunctive relief is available to ensure reporting errors are actually fixed when a consumer is harmed.
H.R. 3618, the “Free Credit Scores for Consumers Act of 2019,” introduced by Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH)
Rep. Beatty’s bill directs the nationwide CRAs to give consumers free copies of their credit scores that are used by creditors in making credit decisions, as determined by the Consumer Bureau, or if not practicable, educational credit scores whenever consumers obtain their free annual consumer reports. A consumer can get their free credit score once a year, and they can get a free credit score if they have reason to believe that their file contains inaccurate information due to fraud.
H.R. 3622, the “Restoring Unfairly Impaired Credit and Protecting Consumers Act,” introduced by Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
Rep. Tlaib’s bill would, among other things, establish the right to free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services if a consumer is a victim of identity theft, fraud, or a related crime, or harmed by the unauthorized disclosure of the consumer’s financial or personally identifiable information.
H.R. 3614, the “Restricting Use of Credit Checks for Employment Decisions Act,” introduced by Representative Al Lawson (D-FL)
Rep. Lawson’s bill would generally prohibit employers from using credit reports for employment decisions, except when a credit report is required by local, state, or Federal law or for a national security clearance.
H.R. 3621, the “Student Borrower Credit Improvement Act,” introduced by Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)
Rep. Pressley’s bill would remove adverse credit file information relating to defaulted or delinquent private education loans for borrowers who demonstrate a history of timely loan repayments for these loans. The bill would require repayment plans be affordable and reasonable, and permits reasonable interruptions in the consecutive repayment periods for those facing unique and extenuating life events, such as service members who are receiving imminent danger or other special pay duty when deployed.
H.R. 3629, the “Clarity in Credit Score Formation Act of 2019,” introduced by Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA)
Rep. Lynch’s bill would clarify oversight of the development of credit scoring models by directing the Consumer Bureau to set standards for validating the accuracy and predictive value of credit scoring models. The bill would also require the Consumer Bureau to study the impact of having more non-traditional data on consumer reports and the use of alternative data in credit scoring models.

Newswire: Coalition pressuring Twitter to shut down White Supremacist accounts

By Barrington M. Salmon

(Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

White House with flag at half staff to honor victim of racially motivated violence

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – A coalition of racial justice and civil rights organizations, based in Charlottesville, Va., has launched a campaign to force Twitter to respond to widespread concerns that Twitter allows White supremacists to flourish on its platform.
The Change the Terms Coalition was deliberate in timing the launch on the eve of the second anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville that led to the murder of activist Heather Heyer on August 12, 2017. The 32-year-old paralegal civil rights activist, was struck and killed by 22-year-old James Fields, a Neo-Nazi White supremacist who drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters. Fields is serving a life sentence plus 419 years for the murder.
The announcement also comes on the heels of two mass shootings that killed at least 31 people in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio August 3rd and 4th respectively. The massacres have exacerbated the group’s concerns about racially motivated attacks fueled by inflammatory online hate. They say President Donald Trump is fueling the violence and called for an uprising against it.
“Donald Trump has legitimized violence and it’s time for people to stand up,” said Jessica J. González, co-founder of Change the Terms and vice president of Strategy and Senior Counsel at Free Press.
The coalition, which held a press conference by phone August 7, is demanding that Twitter ban White supremacists and adopt model corporate policies.
“White supremacists fundraise, recruit and normalize the murder of marginalized people,” said González. “We’ve been working with Big Tech to accept our demands. But Twitter is slow to change. It’s the only platform that has failed to commit to banning White supremacists. David Duke, a former grand wizard of the KKK, is one there as is Richard Spencer and key organizers.”
Richard Spencer is a widely known neo-Nazi and president of the National Policy Institute, a White Supremacist Think Tank. Spencer was the leader of the torch-lit march in Charlottesville the evening before the death of Heather Heyer.
The Change the Terms Coalition includes more than 55 human-rights, civil-rights and digital-rights groups. They include Free Press, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for American Progress, Color of Change, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, MediaJustice, Muslim Advocates and the National Hispanic Media Coalition. It has called on Twitter and other online companies to develop more comprehensive policies to disrupt hate and racism on their platforms and has also urged these platforms to adopt the model corporate policies that Change the Terms has developed.
“When Twitter gives well-known White supremacists a platform, even after they have been deemed too extreme by Facebook and YouTube, their company becomes complicit in normalizing racism and the hateful acts inspired by it,” said González, vice president of strategy and senior counsel at Free Press and co-founder of Change the Terms. “Twitter must tell White supremacists they cannot rely on the platform to espouse harmful rhetoric, intimidate, and plan more attacks.”
Brandi Collins-Dexter, senior campaign director of Color of Change, agreed.
“From Charlottesville two years ago to El Paso this week, we’ve seen the tragic outcomes of White nationalism spreading on Twitter, made even more dangerous every time Trump is allowed to tweet his bigoted rhetoric,” she said. “White nationalists use Twitter every day to harass Black people and users from marginalized communities, to build power and organizational strength, and to amplify violent ideologies in this country. It’s time for Jack Dorsey and Twitter’s leadership to get over their fear of conservative backlash and fully stamp out discrimination on the platform. Our civil rights should not be negotiable.”
Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, president of the diversity consultant firm, Incite Unlimited, cites statistics which illustrate the danger White extremism poses:
According to the most recent FBI data, the number of hate crimes in America has increased three years in a row, jumping about 17 percent in one year alone.
The number of White supremacist groups in America has soared 30 percent in the last four years.
White supremacists account for nearly three out of four murderous terrorist acts in the U.S.
Counties that hosted a Trump rally during his run for president in 2016 have subsequently experienced a 226 percent jump in hate crimes.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the correlation between the political rise of Trump (his campaign run in the primaries, the general election and his time in office), his specific policy negligence around white terrorism, the white supremacist language he infuses in his rhetoric on a daily basis, and the rise in white nationalist violence that has ensued,” Jones-DeWeever said. “When we refuse to speak this truth, we fuel white terrorism. We not only allow it to exist, we also allow it to thrive.”
González, who moderated the August 7 conference call, said Twitter is a space that allows key White nationalist influencers to operate. Reportedly, there are at least 100,000 verified accounts of racists and White extremists who are sophisticated and organized.
“There are 173,000 tweets, 4,000 per white supremacist account and twitter has not removed them,” González said. “Twitter talks a good game while vile, racist extremists continue to spew hate. Latinos have been targeted because of Donald Trump. People are scared to go to school, grocery store, other places because of the color of our skins.”
González said Latino communities including where she lives have been profoundly affected by the shooting in El Paso on August 3. Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old White man drove more than six hours from Dallas to El Paso “to kill Mexicans.”
González said fear has increased exponentially among her friends, family and neighbors and in Latino communities since the killer, who admitted that he is an anti-immigrant white nationalist and Trump supporter, opened fire in a Walmart, killing 22 people and wounded dozens of others.
The coalition notes that a range of Unite the Right organizers and associated White-nationalist influencers continue to benefit from their presence on Twitter. This includes key rally organizers like Richard Spencer, Evan McLaren and Tony Hovater; so-called alt-right podcasters and YouTubers who broadcast live from the rally like Faith Goldy and Mike Peinovich; and figureheads of hate like former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, who attended and broadcast from the deadly rally, and continue to enjoy unfettered use of their Twitter accounts.
Twitter, for its part, released a statement last week saying that it is researching whether white supremacists should be banned or allowed to continue operating on its platform. Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, legal and public policy said in published reports that the research aims to understand the effectiveness of both removing such individuals, as well as allowing them to remain online to be debated by others.
Gadde said in an interview with Motherboard that Twitter is working with academics to see if it can be confirmed that “counter-speech and conversation are a force for good” and “can act as a basis for de-radicalization,” which is Twitter’s current position. She also added that Twitter has seen evidence on other platforms that radical viewpoints can change through an exchange of ideas.

Newswire : The Federation of Southern Cooperatives will honor legendary Civil Rights leader, Rev. Jesse L Jackson, for his contributions to economic justice for Black farmers, landowners and rural communities

Reverend Jesse Jackson attends the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Cornelius Blanding and Rev. Jesse L. Jackson

Atlanta, GA- On Thursday evening, August 15, 2019, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (FSC/LAF) will present its 18th Estelle Witherspoon Lifetime Achievement Award to Rev. Jesse L. Jackson for his leadership, support and contributions to rural southern people and communities. Several hundred guests attending will include rural farmers, landowners, corporate CEO’s, high-level government officials, and members of the Honorary Committee.

The award dinner to be held at the BJCC complex in Birmingham, Alabama marks the start of the Federation’s 52nd Annual Meeting. The Federation is a regional non-profit membership organization serving 20,000 low-income families organized in 75 cooperatives, credit unions and community development groups. The Federation focuses on providing services, resources, marketing and advocacy for its membership and is the premier Black farmers organization in the nation.

The Estelle Witherspoon Lifetime Achievement Award is reserved for honoree’s that work toward social change over a lifetime. Estelle Witherspoon was a founding member of the Federation and the manager of the Freedom Quilting Bee in Alberta, Alabama. The Freedom Quilting Bee, formed in 1966 by local women as an outgrowth of the Civil Rights Movement, became nationally known for creating colorful quilts. Past recipients have included: actors Danny Glover and Cicely Tyson, Congresspersons John Lewis, Barbara Lee, James Clyburn and Benny Thompson, author Alice Walker and others.

“We want to honor our leaders and allies in the Civil Rights Movement because their activism for equal rights blazed the trail for rural farmers to mobilize into cooperatives. Decades of vigorous organizing by the Federation has led to many legislative victories. Our most recent and major win includes transformational heirs property legislation, in the 2018 Farm Bill, brings new opportunities to save, protect and expand the landholding of black farmers and landowners. Leaders such as Rev. Jackson gave us momentum in our formative years.” said Cornelius Blanding, current Executive Director of FSC/LAF.

Jackson’s contribution to the Federation’s legacy is based on his civil rights work and in very specific partnerships. In the early years, due to his spearheading work in SCLC’s Operation Bread Basket, and later in Operation PUSH, he worked to open markets for rural southern farmers allowing them to link cooperatives to viable markets in Chicago and other cities. The Federation’s staff accompanied Rev. Jackson to Africa in 1987 to expand the work internationally. “We thank Rev. Jackson for opening the door for us to travel to Southern and Western Africa. As a result, the Federation was able to expand its footprint to help develop cooperatives in the region”, says Jerry Pennick, retired Director of Land Retention.

Land is one of the greatest and most valuable assets African American farmers possess. Black farmland ownership, which peaked in 1910 at 19 million acres, has shown a consistent decrease until recently. The most recent 2017 Census of Agriculture by the National Agricultural Statistical Service shows black land ownership to be at 4 million acres. Those numbers are looking promising but farm income has declined for all farmers, including Black farmers.

Activist John Zippert, retired FSC/LAF Director of the Rural Training and Research Center in Epes, Alabama, feels hopeful. “I recently attended the Bridge Cross Jubilee in Selma this March. In Rev Jackson’s speech, he shared his vision for rural economic reconstruction and renaissance starting in Selma and radiating out to Black Belt counties across the South. This is exactly what FSC/LAF has been dedicated to accomplishing for half a century, by mobilizing farmers, ranchers, and cooperatives in the rural South. We are sure that Rev. Jackson will speak to this vision in his acceptance of the Witherspoon Award.”

After the award dinner, the focus of the 52nd Annual Meeting will shift for the next two days, August 16th-17th, to the organization’s Rural Training and Research Center (RTRC) in Epes, Alabama. These days will feature workshops and business meetings of the organization The RTRC is the hub of operations for FSC/LAF and also the base of operations for the Alabama State Association of Cooperatives outreach and technical assistance staff.

Persons interested in attending and buying tickets for the Witherspoon Award Dinner and other events of the FSC/LAF 52nd Annual Dinner should go to the organization’s website at www.federation.coop for more details. You can also call the offices in Atlanta at 404/765-0991 or Epes, Alabama at 205/652-9676.

The Freedom Ride for Voting Rights reaches Washington, D. C. on 54th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

The Alabama New South Coalition and the SaveOurselves (SOS) Coalition for Justice and Democracy sponsored the ‘Freedom Ride for Voting Rights’ starting from Selma on Saturday, August 3 and going through five states to reach Washington, D. C. on August 6, 2019, the 54th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA).
The bus ride by sixty people joined by two additional carloads of people was coordinated with the national LiftOurVote Campaign to increase awareness of voter suppression and the fight to restore the pre-clearance sections of the VRA as well as support a national effort for voter registration, education and mobilization for the upcoming 2020 elections.

The Freedom Ride made stops in each state along the way holding rallies and meetings with local groups to promote voting rights and support the Voting Rights Advancement Act (HR4) which will restore the preclearance provisions of Sections 4 and 5 of the VRA which were stripped from the act by the Supreme Court in the Shelby vs. Holder case of six years ago.
The Freedom Ride stopped in Montgomery, Alabama on Saturday morning for a rally in front of the Alabama State Capitol. Later in the afternoon, a rally was held at the Beulah Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia because the Georgia state officials wanted a high price for police protection for a rally at the Courthouse. The group spent the night in Columbia, South Carolina.
On Sunday morning, the freedom riders visited a memorial on the SC State College at Orangeburg to three Black students who were killed by State Troopers in the 1980’s while conducting a non-violent protest trying to desegregate a bowling alley. The memorial honors Henry E. Smith, Samuel Hammond Jr. and Delano B. Middleton.
The riders attended a church service at the Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, SC pastored by Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III. The church congregation welcomed the freedom riders and applauded the group. The next stop was the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC where the nine parishioners were shot down during a prayer meeting.
The group spent the night in Raleigh, North Carolina and held a morning rally at the State Capitol. From Raleigh the bus traveled to Jamestown, Virginia to see the place where slavery was initiated in North America in 1619, 400 years ago. From Jamestown, the freedom bus made its way to Richmond, Virginia for another state Capitol rally. From Richmond, VA the bus traveled to Washington D. C.
On Tuesday, August6, 2019 in Washington, D. C., to commemorate the 54th anniversary of passage of the VRA, the freedom riders held two rallies, one at the U. S. Supreme Court and one in front of the nation’s Capitol to dramatize the demands of the trip and to support the theme of the ride that “every issue is a voting issue”. On Wednesday, the freedom riders will participate in a National Planning and Strategy Conference on Voting Rights before returning home to Alabama.

Greene County High School holds 4th annual Tie Tying Ceremony

. — photography Cynthia Crawford

Judge Lillie Jones-Osborne assisting student
Marcus Steele assisting students
Student assisting student

The Greene County High School 9th Grade Academy, in its fourth year, held its annual Tie Tying Ceremony, Tuesday, August 6, 2019 in the school gymnasium. The Academy program focuses on detailed guidance and assistance for the incoming Freshman Class. The students will receive in depth academic monitoring, counseling, tutoring and guided postsecondary advising The 87 student Freshman Class, with an expected high school graduation date of 2023, will adorn the classic school uniform of navy blue blazer, white shirts and kaki pants with their own distinguishing red and white stripped tie. The ties were provided complimentary of the Greene County Children’s Policy Council, where District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne serves as President.
School Personnel and community stakeholders assisting students in learning appropriate tie tying included Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, GCHS Principal Willie Simmons, Assist. Principal Andrea Perry, Marcus Steele, Sr., Alphonzo Morton, III and Alphonzo Morton, Jr., Mr. Gary Rice, Mrs. Theresa Mack and Joshua M Campbell.