County Commission and Greene Entertainment Inc still working on lease agreement agreement

The Greene County Commission met in regular session, Monday, March 13, 2023 with all commissioners in attendance.
Prior to action on the agenda items, Commissioner Garria Spencer moved to amend the agenda, however, his motion failed since there was a motion on the floor to adopt the agenda as presented. Commissioner Tennyson Smith moved and Commissioner Roshanda Summerville seconded. That motion to adopt the agenda as presented passed.
It was later learned that Commissioner Spencer’s amendment concerned the lease agreement between the county and Greene Entertainment Inc. The County Commission approved the original lease agreement at its February meeting, but the officials of Greene Entertainment Inc had concerns with a component of the agreement and had not signed the document. The commission took no further action in this regard at the meeting, however, following adjournment, seemingly, informal discussions continued.
The commission acted on the following agenda items:
* Approved replacing the roof at the public library.
* Approved advertising for a clerk for the Probate Judge’s office.
* Tabled the appointment to the IDA Board for District 1.
* Approved allowing the engineer to sell three dump trucks.
* Approved travel for the engineer and assistant engineer for class in Alexander City.
Approved amending the contract for closure of the landfill to include bonding for the contractor not to exceed $20,000, authorizing necessary signatures. The amendment also indicated the removal of taxes not applicable to the county, generating a saving of approximately $17,000.
CFO Macaroy Underwood presented the financial report indicating the following bank balances as of February 23, 2023. Citizen Trust Bank – 5,448,624.44 of which $3,385,804.55 is restricted; Merchants & Farmers Bank – $6,513,733.82 of which $3,127,929.27 is restricted; Bond Funds Investment – $877,979.73; Accounts payable including payroll transfer and fiduciary – $651,795.36; Electronic claims paid – $84,708.23. Underwood reported that in the General Fund Budget Recap, 66% of funds remained.
The commission approved the finance report, then realized that the payment of claims was not listed on the agenda.  County Attorney Mark Parnell advised the commission to reconsider action on the finance report. A new motion was offered to accept the finance report including payment of claims. The motion carried.

Black Women in Political Office in Greene County

Mary E. Sanders was the First Black Female Deputy in Greene County, AL.
Mrs. Queen Ester Crawford was the first Black woman elected to the Greene County Board of Education.
Mrs. Mary McShan Snoddy, Greene County Circuit Clerk, 1977-1989
Judge Earlean Isaac is first Black Woman Probate Judge in Greene County and in Alabama

Mary E. Sanders was the First Black Female Deputy in Greene County, AL. Deputy Sanders served as deputy sheriff under the leadership of Sheriff Thomas Gilmore from 1971-1983.

Mrs. Queen Ester Crawford was the first Black woman elected to the Greene County Board of Education. She served two six-year terms beginning in 1978. Prior to her graduation from Alabama State College (University) in 1950, with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in English, Mrs. Crawford taught in the Birmingham City School system from 1935 to 1937. She later earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Livingston University (UWA). She also served as team leader for the Teacher Corps Program at Livingston.
During her educational tenure in Greene County, she was a life member of the National Education Association, the first woman president of the Greene County Education Association and a member of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
In her 32 years in the Greene County School System, she held the positions of teacher and principal at the following schools: Mt. Hebron, Riverside, Mt Maria and Pleasant Valley School. Mrs. Crawford retired as principal of Birdine Jr. High School in 1976.
Mrs. Crawford served the county in various other capacities including Chairperson of the Housing Authority of Greene County Board, and board member of West Alabama Mental Health Center. She was a member of Mt. Olive Baptist Church and the Oak Hill Star Chapter Number 736 Order of Eastern Star. She had one daughter and three grandsons.

Mrs. Mary McShan Snoddy served two terms as the second Black woman Circuit Clerk of Greene County Alabama from 1977 to 1989. In 1976 Mrs. Snoddy ran for the office of circuit clerk on the Democrat ticket defeating incumbent Mrs. Wadine Williams, who ran for re-election on the National Democrat Party of Alabama (NDPA) ticket. Prior to serving as Circuit Clerk, Mrs. Snoddy held the position of Deputy Director of Community Action Agency of Greene County in the early 1970’s.She served as Greene County Jail administrator from 2003 to 2010. She returned to the Circuit Clerk’s office as Court Specialist in 2012.
Mrs. Snoddy, a native of Greene County, is a 1970 graduate of the former Carver High School in Eutaw. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Miles College, Birmingham, in 1975. She has three children and is a member of Mt. Sinai United Methodist Church, Mantua, serving as financial secretary.

Judge Earlean Isaac was the first Black woman Probate Judge elected in Greene County and in the State of Alabama. Elected countywide in 1988, she held that office from 1989 to 2018. Prior to her 1988 election, Mrs. Isaac served as Probate Clerk, under Judge William M. Branch from 1971 to 1989. She credits that service time and experience as the most essential preparation she could have received to launch her as Probate Judge.
Judge Isaac is a 1968 graduate of the former Greene County Training School, Boligee, Alabama. She is a member of Lloyd Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Forkland, Alabama. She is married to Johnny Lovell Isaac. They have three children, five grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

Newswire: Racist attacks and ‘fake facts’ on videos spark African migrants flight from Tunisia

African migrants leaving Tunisia


Mar. 13, 2023 (GIN) – A campaign targeting Black migrants in the north African nation of Tunisia has escalated with misleading videos on social media. The African Union has responded – cancelling a major conference on illicit financial flows due to take place in in Tunisia this month.
The misleading videos repeated remarks by President Kais Saied who called migration a “plot” to change the country’s profile from Black to Arab.
But according to Reality Check and BBC Monitoring, nearly all the videos that claim to show African migrants in Tunisia were actually filmed elsewhere.
One of the videos, with millions of views reads, in Arabic: “Tunisia under occupation.” Another says “Tunisia has become the kingdom of Africans.” While the video purports to be filmed in Tunisia, a Senegalese flag can be seen and the language heard in Wolof, a Senegalese language.
There are an estimated 20,000 sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia, which has a population of 12 million.
Tunisian rights researcher Kenza ben Azouz told the BBC: “This is not a matter of legality or illegality. It’s about being Black in this country”. Black Tunisians, who make up around 10-15% of the country’s population, suffer discrimination because of the color of their skin, she said. 
Hundreds of people have protested In Tunis to denounce Saied’s speech, accusing him of racist comments against refugees while Ivory Coast, Mali and Guinea have begun repatriating their citizens from Tunisia.
Tunisia has rejected responsibility for the racial violence, saying it only sought to ensure “laws of the land are respected to avoid spreading chaos”.
According to Lawyers Without Borders, an advocacy group, approximately 800 sub-Saharan Africans have been arrested. Others have been evicted from homes they had rented, or have lost their jobs.

Newswire: Statement from the National Bankers Association on Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank

Citizens Trust Bank Branch in Eutaw, AL

Today, National Bankers Association (NBA) President & CEO Nicole Elam Esq. and Chairman Robert James II released the following statement regarding Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank.
“In light of recent industry events, the National Bankers Association wants to assure consumers that your money is safe with minority banks. Minority depository institutions are very different from both SVB and Signature Bank which had high concentrations in crypto deposits and volatile venture capital. Minority banks are not exposed to riskier asset classes and have the capital and strong liquidity to best serve consumers and small businesses. If you’re looking for a place to bring your deposits and have greater impact, bring your deposits to minority banks” said Nicole Elam, President and CEO of the National Bankers Association.
“The Biden-Harris Administration, FDIC, and Federal Reserve worked hard this weekend to make sure that these bank failures are the exception, not the rule, and that all Americans can continue to have confidence in our banking system. I also applaud bipartisan leaders in Congress for keeping stakeholders informed about how hard- earned deposits are being kept safe.” said Robert James, II, Chairman of the National Bankers Association, President & CEO, Carver Financial Corporation
The National Bankers Association is the nation’s leading trade association for the country’s minority depository institutions (MDIs). MDIs have always focused on safety and soundness as a part of our conservative, relationship- based business model. We continue to monitor SVB’s impact on large corporate deposit concentrations, fintech, tech companies, and larger financial institutions that have partnerships with MDIs or who have made investments in MDIs.
MDIs are in the strongest position ever to support their customers and here’s why:
Traditional Banking Model with Diverse & Secure Assets: MDIs are diversified in terms of their assets, predominately focused on well-collateralized loans, and are not exposed to riskier asset classes. Unlike both SVB and Signature Bank, MDIs have very limited exposure to the venture capital industry and crypto.
Well-Capitalized and Strong Liquidity: MDIs are in the strongest position ever. The sector is exceptionally well capitalized, enjoys substantial liquidity overall, and has grown by 33% over the last three years in total assets. Nearly $4 billion in new, permanent capital has flowed to MDIs and currently, the median MDI common equity ratio is 16.4% versus 14.8% for non-MDIs.
Positioned for Impact: 77% of MDI branches are in areas with a higher average share of minorities compared to 31% for all FDIC-insured depository institutions. According to a Dallas Fed Study in 2022, MDIs originate almost 40% of their mortgages to minority borrowers, versus only 10% by other banks. Additionally, MDIs originate 30% of small business loans to low- to moderate-income communities in comparison to 20% at community banks and 24% at large banks. Customer deposits are not only extremely safe in an MDI but are far more likely to have a positive impact in the community.

Newswire: Here’s how the White House says President Biden’s budget advances equity

President Biden and Vice President Harris

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

President Joe Biden unveiled a $6.8 trillion budget plan that includes aiding several social programs, raising taxes on the wealthy, and decreasing the country’s debt by $3 trillion over the next decade.
While the plan has little chance of passing through the GOP-led House, the President doubled-down on a previous executive order that directs the federal government to advance an ambitious equity and racial justice agenda.
Biden reminded lawmakers that his administration has made significant progress advancing equity across the federal government, including by releasing a second executive order last month that strengthens the government’s ability to create opportunities for communities and populations that have been historically underserved, and one that “continues to build an America in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.”

Advance Maternal Health and Health Equity

The Budget includes $471 million to support implementation of the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates and address persistent disparities; expand maternal health initiatives in rural communities; implement implicit bias training for healthcare providers; create pregnancy medical home demonstration projects; and address the highest rates of perinatal health disparities, including by supporting the perinatal health workforce.
In addition, the Budget requires all States to provide continuous Medicaid coverage for 12 months postpartum, eliminating gaps in health insurance at a critical time.
The budget expands access to quality, affordable health care by investing $150 billion over 10 years to improve and expand Medicaid home and community-based services, such as personal care services, which would allow older Americans and individuals with disabilities to remain in their homes and stay active in their communities as well as improve the quality of jobs for home care workers.
To bolster the health care workforce, the budget provides a total of $966 million in 2024 to expand the National Health Service Corps, which provides loan repayment and scholarships to healthcare professionals in exchange for practicing in underserved areas, and a total of $350 million to expand programs that train and support the nursing workforce.
Additionally, the budget supports survivors of domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence by significantly increasing support and protect survivors of gender-based violence, including $519 million for the Family Violence Prevention and Services (FVPSA) program to support domestic violence survivors—double the 2023 enacted level.
The President also wants to guarantee adequate and stable funding for HIS.
The budget requests an additional $3 billion in 2024 for a total of $8.1 billion in discretionary resources, and proposes all IHS resources as mandatory beginning in 2025.
Housing Support and Development

Biden also proposes to provide $90 million to support State and local fair housing enforcement organizations and to further education, outreach, and training on rights and responsibilities under Federal fair housing laws.
The budget also invests in HUD staff and technical assistance to affirmatively further fair housing and reduce barriers that restrict housing and neighborhood choice.
The White House said the budget would expand access to affordable rent through the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which currently provides 2.3 million low-income families with rental assistance to obtain housing in the private market.
Biden wants to provide $32.7 billion, an increase of $2.4 billion over the 2023 enacted level, to maintain services for all currently assisted families and—together with HCV program reserves—to expand assistance to an additional 180,000 households, particularly those who are experiencing homelessness or fleeing domestic violence.
To further ensure that more households have access to safe and affordable housing, the budget provides $9 billion in mandatory funding to establish a housing voucher program for all 20,000-youth aging out of foster care annually; and provides $13 billion to incrementally expand rental assistance for 450,000 extremely low-income veteran families, paving a path to guaranteed assistance for all who have served the nation and are in need.
To prevent and reduce homelessness, the budget provides $3.7 billion, an increase of $116 million over the 2023 enacted level, for HUD Homeless Assistance Grants to meet renewal needs and expand assistance to approximately 25,000 additional households, including survivors of domestic violence and homeless youth.
The budget also seeks to prevent evictions by making the legal process during eviction proceedings fairer, and mitigate future housing instability, and providing $3 billion in mandatory spending for competitive grants to promote and solidify state and local efforts to reform eviction policies by providing access to legal counsel, emergency rental assistance, and other forms of rent relief.
Also, to help ensure that every student receives a high-quality education, the Budget provides $20.5 billion for Title I, which would continue historic progress in increasing Title I funding over the past two years.
Title I provides critical funding to 90 percent of school districts across the nation, helping them to provide students in low-income communities the academic opportunities and support they need to succeed.
The administration said every child with a disability should have access to the high-quality early intervention, special education services, and personnel needed to thrive in school and graduate ready for college or a career.
The budget invests $16.8 billion in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants to support special education and related services for more than seven million students with disabilities in grades Pre-K through 12, an increase of $2.1 billion above the 2023 enacted level.
Information for this report was provided by the White House.

Newswire: USDA announces next steps in providing financial assistance to borrowers who have faced discrimination

Washington, March 1, 2023 (Press Release No. 45.23) – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the first steps in its process for providing financial assistance to farmers, ranchers or forest landowners who have previously suffered discrimination with respect to USDA farm lending programs. In addition, USDA set a target of distributing the allocated funds, which were authorized by the Inflation Reduction Act, out to borrowers by the end of 2023. This process has been carefully designed in accordance with the IRA, the Federal Acquisition Regulation, and significant stakeholder input.
Specifically, Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed into law by President Biden in August 2022, directs USDA to provide financial assistance to producers who have experienced discrimination in USDA’s farm lending programs and has appropriated $2.2 billion for this program. Under the law, the Secretary of Agriculture is responsible for administering the assistance through qualified nongovernmental entities under standards set by USDA.
“These funds are yet another stepping stone in the long march towards justice and an inclusive, equitable USDA. Through this program and a neutral, comprehensive financial assistance process, USDA will acknowledge wrongs of the past and open up avenues that provide farmers, ranchers and forest landowners who have experienced discrimination by USDA the opportunity to be heard,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“In providing this financial assistance, our goal is to make sure eligible people have adequate, understandable information about what is available to them, how to apply, and what to expect from USDA at each step. As we work to make all our programs more equitable, accessible and accountable, we are applying these same principles to make sure all Americans know how to engage with USDA’s services so we can prevent more inequities and build new levels of trust with the People’s Department going forward.”
Following President Biden signing the IRA, USDA took immediate steps to convene listening sessions and seek public comments about the design of the program to make sure farmers, advocates, academics, legislators, tribal governments, and other experts were heard.
Now, in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the Department will soon issue contracts to nongovernmental program administrators, as the IRA specifies, that will coordinate the delivery of a national program of financial assistance to impacted farmers, ranchers or forest landowners. The vendors will include a national administrator to oversee the program and four regional hubs that will be set up to solicit and process applications efficiently. Vendors for the four regional hubs are encouraged to partner with organizations with experience in agriculture and specifically organizations that work with and represent underserved producers and have a relationship with USDA.
Organizations such as existing USDA cooperators that are interested in serving as partners to the regional hubs vendors should send an email to by March 17, 2023 to have the name and contact information of their organization added to a list of interested potential partner organizations that will be made available to all regional hub interested vendors.
In addition to a national administrator and regional hubs, USDA will partner with community-based organizations across the country with experience in agriculture and reach into underserved communities. Building on work underway with existing cooperators and grantees through NIFA, FSA, NRCS and OPPE, these organizations will conduct outreach and ensure potential applicants are informed about the program and have the opportunity to apply. Organizations that would like to serve as cooperators should express their interest through an email to by March 31, 2023.
The Department anticipates final selection of the vendors managing the program to occur by late Spring 2023. As soon as the national administrator, regional hubs, and cooperators are selected and prepared to begin the application process, USDA will work with them to disseminate specific details concerning the application period, with the goal of having payments made by the end of 2023.
The Department will also reach out to trusted cooperators that can further assist eligible farmers, ranchers, or forest landowners nearer to their locations. These trusted cooperators will be drawn from those with long-standing experience in agriculture technical assistance, outreach, and support for the farming community.
By taking these important steps to fulfill the mandates of Section 22007, USDA hopes to recognize and acknowledge the discrimination suffered by individuals, take steps to rebuild trust with communities, and create a better and stronger U.S. agriculture that is more diverse and resilient. This is one piece of a much broader effort at USDA to improve equity and access and eliminate barriers to its programs for underserved individuals and communities. More information about this work can be accessed at, where USDA will continue to share updates on its progress.

President Biden renews commitment to passage of John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act at Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee

L To R: President Joe Biden, Cong. Terri Sewell, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson in wheelchair, rolled by son Cong. Jonathan Jackson, Krysten Clarke and Spiver W. Gordon
Attorney Faya Rose Toure addresses gathering at Commemoration March.
Rev. Jesse Jackson receives special tribute at Unity Breakfast.
Senator Hank Sanders at Martin and Coretta Unity Breakfast Rev. Martin Luther King III sitting at right
Freedom Singers bring inspiration throughout Jubilee.

At Sunday’s rally at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, President Biden renewed his commitment to passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, even if it requires waiving the U. S. Senate’s filibuster rules.

Biden accompanied by foot soldiers, current civil rights leaders and thousands of marchers crossed the bridge in the annual reenactment of the ‘Bloody Sunday’ march – March 7, 1965, when 600 marchers were met and beaten by hundreds of Alabama State Troopers and Sheriffs deputies. Later that month, Dr. Martin Luther King led marchers from Selma to Montgomery, completing the march and paving the way for passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In his statement, President Biden said: “The right to vote, to have your vote counted is the threshold of democracy and liberty,” 
 “This fundamental right remains under assault. Conservative Supreme Court has gutted the Voting Rights Act over the years. Since the 2020 election, a wave of states has passed dozens, dozens of anti-voting laws fueled by the big lie,” he insisted.
 The President continued. “We must redouble our efforts and renew our commitment to protecting the freedom to vote. “We know that we must get the votes in Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the Freedom to Vote Act. I’ve made it clear: I will not let a filibuster obstruct the sacred right to vote.”
In his comments President Biden urged passage of the George Floyd Police Reform Act to implement changes in the criminal justice system across the nation. He also urged passage of a ban on assault weapons, like the AR-15, which have hurt people in recent multiple shootings at schools, theaters, and shopping centers.
The President called for building the economy from “the bottom up and the middle out; and for the rich to pay their fair share of taxes.” He said that he was ready to stand by Selma and other places in the state ravaged by recent storms to rebuild better than in the past. He said over $8 million had already been distributed under the FEMA disaster declaration for the January 12th tornados.
Biden was introduced by Charles Mauldin, a foot soldier, who was in the third row of marchers on Bloody Sunday. Mauldin explained that all Black public officials and others registered and voting under the 1965 Voting Rights Act owed a debt to the 600 ordinary people from Selma and surrounding areas who decided that they would take action to make a change.
Mauldin initiated a “Foot Soldiers Breakfast” on Saturday morning of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, ten years ago, to honor those who participated in Bloody Sunday and the Voting Rights Movement in Selma. At this year’s breakfast, the foot soldiers organization announced they had secured a property near the Carver Housing Project for a “Foot Soldiers Memorial Park” to recognize the contributions of the foot soldiers and to inspire the next generations to become active in positive social change for the Selma community.
Faya Rose Toure, Selma attorney, civil rights activist, and co-founder, with her husband, Hank Sanders, of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, which was celebrating its 30th anniversary, also spoke on the program at the foot of the bridge with President Biden.
Toure said racism is still active and blatant in the Alabama Black Belt along with immense poverty and an abusive criminal justice system. She pointed out to the President, “Not a single white elected official is present on the stage or in the VIP seating for the event. Also, there are less that ten local white citizens involved in the Bridge Crossing Jubilee program. There is no school in the Alabama Black Belt, an area of majority Black population that teaches Black History!”
Commenting on the recent tornados, Toure said, “Mr. President. Not only must we build back Selma better, but we must also build back Selma fairer, if we are interested in justice and progress for the people of Selma and surrounding communities.
Toure also told the President, “I do not think you are too old to run again. My mother said the Blacker the berry; the older the berry, the sweeter the juice … “
A number of the people on the stage and in the VIP seating for the President’s address, had participated earlier in the annual Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast. Among them, Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was in a wheelchair, Congresswoman Terri Sewell and other members of the Black Congressional Caucus, Rev. William Barber of the Poor Peoples Campaign, Dr. Joseph Mitchell, President of Wallace Community College, Barbara Arnwine of the Transformative Justice Coalition, Maya Wiley, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Cliff Albright, Black Voters Matter, and many others.

First Black Women in Public Office in Greene County

Mrs. Wadine Williams was elected the first Black Circuit Clerk in Greene County.

Mrs. Amanda Burton was the first Black woman appointed to the Greene County Commission.
Mrs. Lula Cook was the first Black woman appointed and subsequently elected as Greene County Tax Collector.
Mrs. Edna Chambers was the first Black Woman elected to the Greene County Commission

Editor’s Note: In March, as Women’s History Month, the Democrat will salute various Black women who held political office.

Mrs. Wadine Williams was elected the first Black Circuit Clerk in Greene County in 1970 on the National Democratic Party of Alabama (NDPA) ticket. She ran for re-election in 1976, but was defeated by Mary McShan, who ran on the Democratic Party ticket.

Ms. Amanda Burton was appointed the first Black Woman on the Greene County Commission, to complete the term of her husband, Franchie Burton, when he passed.
Burton attended school at the Bibb County Training School and Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, where she met her husband, Franchie Burton. After marriage and a move to Greene County, Burton completed her BA degree at Alabama State University in Montgomery and become a certified librarian.
In 1935, Mrs. Burton began teaching at Burton Hill School in Greene County. It was consolidated with Eatman School in 1962 and she continued to teach there and also began its library. She retired in 1972.
She was an active member of the Johnson Hill United Methodist Church in Union. She organized the Johnson Hill Summer Youth Program, which became the Johnson Hill Learning Center.
She was the first Black woman in Greene County to register to vote and the first Black Notary Public in Greene County. She helped incorporate the town of Union and organized a nutrition site for senior citizens in 1981.
Gov. George Wallace appointed her to fill her late husband’s unexpired term as county commissioner, thus making her the first woman commissioner in Greene County.
Mrs. Lula Cook was the first Black Woman appointed to the office of Tax Collector, when her husband, Robert Cook, passed in 1986. She was subsequently elected to that office.
Lula Virginia Davis Cook , (Honey Bae, Honey Baby) was born June 14, 1922 in Boligee, Alabama. After the early demise of her mother, Rebecca Dunlap, she was reared and nurtured in the Christian home by her loving grandparents, George and Lula Davis. She was educated in the Greene County School System. After graduating from Greene County Training School, she attended A & M University, Normal, AL and Miles College in Birmingham, AL, majoring in Early Childhood Education. Because of her love for children, she worked for several years with the Greene County Board of Education.
On December 24, 1948 she married the love of her life, Robert Henry Cook, Sr., who was elected the first Black Tax Collector of Greene County beginning October 1, 1973. In 1986, Lula succeeded her husband after he had served twelve consecutive years by becoming the first Black woman to serve as Greene County’s Tax Collector. Lula loved the Lord and was a loyal member of Macedonia CME Church where she served faithfully until her health prevented her from doing so. She served as Sunday School Teacher, President of the Missionary Society, Secretary of the Sunday School, a Laymen and a Trustee.

Mrs. Edna Chambers was the first Black Woman elected to the Greene County Commission.
Mrs. Edna Chambers, of Knoxville, AL, celebrated her 92nd birthday on January 8, 2023.  Mrs. Chambers has been a community activist all her adult life and continues to share her life experiences and wisdom, receiving many accolades for her outstanding community work.  She is noted as a trailblazer, civil rights activists and humanitarian in Greene County and throughout the state of Alabama.
  Chambers, representing District 1,  served two terms on the Greene County Commission between 1998- 2004.  Prior to running for office, Mrs. Chambers had just retired from the Greene County Health Department as a  home health care employee.  She and her husband for many years operated a small community grocery store. She was also a licensed agent with Primerica Insurance Company. 
  In  her capacity as a community leader,  Mrs. Chambers helped and assisted with the following: Camp Montgomery, Knoxville Volunteer Fire Department, Montgomery Recreation Center and the USDA Commodity Distribution. She is also an active member of the Greene County Chapter of Alabama New South Coalition.
Mrs. Chambers attends Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Knoxville. Her pastor is Rev. Robert Ellis.  


Newswire: America’s biggest museums fail to return Native American human remains

Workers excavate a mound at the Moundville Archaeological Park in Moundville, Alabama, in 1975. (photo: The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections)

By: Logan Jaffe, Mary Hudetz, Ash Ngu and Graham Lee Brewer/ProPublica and NBC News

As the United States pushed Native Americans from their lands to make way for westward expansion throughout the 1800s, museums and the federal government encouraged the looting of Indigenous remains, funerary objects and cultural items. Many of the institutions continue to hold these today — and in some cases resist their return despite the 1990 passage of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
“We never ceded or relinquished our dead. They were stolen,” James Riding In, then an Arizona State University professor who is Pawnee, said of the unreturned remains.
ProPublica this year is investigating the failure of NAGPRA to bring about the expeditious return of human remains by federally funded universities and museums. Our reporting, in partnership with NBC News, has found that a small group of institutions and government bodies has played an outsized role in the law’s failure.
Ten institutions hold about half of the Native American remains that have not been returned to tribes. These include old and prestigious museums with collections taken from ancestral lands not long after the U.S. government forcibly removed Native Americans from them, as well as state-run institutions that amassed their collections from earthen burial mounds that had protected the dead for hundreds of years.
Two are arms of the U.S. government: the Interior Department, which administers the law, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation’s largest federally owned utility.
An Interior Department spokesperson said it complies with its legal obligations and that its bureaus (such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Land Management) are not required to begin the repatriation of “culturally unidentifiable human remains” unless a tribe or Native Hawaiian organization makes a formal request.
Tennessee Valley Authority Archaeologist and Tribal Liaison Marianne Shuler said the agency is committed to “partnering with federally recognized tribes as we work through the NAGPRA process.”
The law required institutions to publicly report their holdings and to consult with federally recognized tribes to determine which tribes human remains and objects should be repatriated to. Institutions were meant to consider cultural connections, including oral traditions as well as geographical, biological and archaeological links.
Yet many institutions have interpreted the definition of “cultural affiliation” so narrowly that they’ve been able to dismiss tribes’ connections to ancestors and keep remains and funerary objects. Throughout the 1990s, institutions including the Ohio History Connection and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville thwarted the repatriation process by categorizing everything in their collections that might be subject to the law as “culturally unidentifiable.”
Ohio History Connection’s director of American Indian relations, Alex Wesaw, who is also a citizen of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, said that the institution’s original designation of so many collections as culturally unidentifiable may have “been used as a means to keep people on shelves for research and for other things that our institution just doesn’t allow anymore.”
In a statement provided to ProPublica, a University of Tennessee, Knoxville spokesperson said that the university is “actively building relationships with and consulting with Tribal communities.”
ProPublica found that the American Museum of Natural History has not returned some human remains taken from the Southwest, arguing that they are too old to determine which tribes — among dozens in the region — would be the correct ones to repatriate to. In the Midwest, the Illinois State Museum for decades refused to establish a cultural affiliation for Native American human remains that predated the arrival of Europeans in the region in 1673, citing no reliable written records during what archaeologists called the “pre-contact” or “prehistoric” period.
As of last month, about 200 institutions — including the University of Kentucky’s William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and the nonprofit Center for American Archeology in Kampsville, Illinois — had repatriated none of the remains of more than 14,000 Native Americans in their collections. Some institutions with no recorded repatriations possess the remains of a single individual; others have as many as a couple thousand.
When the federal repatriation law passed in 1990, the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would take 10 years to repatriate all covered objects and remains to Native American tribes. Today, many tribal historic preservation officers and NAGPRA professionals characterize that estimate as laughable, given that Congress has never fully funded the federal office tasked with overseeing the law and administering consultation and repatriation grants.
Author Chip Colwell, a former curator at the Denver Museum of Nature … Science, estimates repatriation will take at least another 70 years to complete. But the Interior Department, now led by the first Native American to serve in a cabinet position, is seeking changes to regulations that would push institutions to complete repatriation within three years. Some who work on repatriation for institutions and tribes have raised concerns about the feasibility of this timeline.
Our investigation included an analysis of records from more than 600 institutions; interviews with more than 100 tribal leaders, museum professionals and others; and the review of nearly 30 years of transcripts from the federal committee that hears disputes related to the law.
D. Rae Gould, executive director of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative at Brown University and a member of the Hassanamisco Band of Nipmucs of Massachusetts, said institutions that don’t want to repatriate often claim there’s inadequate evidence to link ancestral human remains to any living people.
Gould said “one of the faults with the law” is that institutions, and not tribes, have the final say on whether their collections are considered culturally related to the tribes seeking repatriation. “Institutions take advantage of it,” she said.


Newswire: Colonel Paris Davis receives Medal of Honor for service in Vietnam

President Biden awards medal to Col. Paris Davis

From Blackmansstreet

President Joe Biden on Friday awarded the Medal of Honor to retired Army Colonel Paris Davis, some sixty years after his superior officers recommended him for the nation’s highest honor. However, the Army lost the recommendations twice, and some believe racism may have played a role.

President Biden draped the Metal of Honor around Davis, who was awarded for fighting in Vietnam during a packed event at the White House.

Davis was captain and commander of the 5th Special Forces Group, one of the few Blacks in command.

He was engaged in a continuous pre-dawn raid on a contingent of the North Vietnamese army encamped in the village of Bong Son in Binh Dinh province.

Davis fought in hand-to-hand combat with the North Vietnamese and thwarted the capture of three American soldiers. He also sprinted across open rice paddies to rescue members of his troop. His entire team survived “That world gallantry is not much used these days,”
Biden said. “But I can think of no better word to describe Paris.” Colonel Davis retired in 1985 and faced segregation in Virginia.

He also wondered why he had never heard about the recommendation he received for the Medal of Honor. He was awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest combat medal, but his team members said his Black skin was a factor in the disappearance of the Medal of Honor recommendation.

Davis had been recommended for the Medal of Honor after the battle in 1965. Nine years later, a second nomination was submitted, but it also was lost.
Army service members said there was no evidence of racism, but former President Bill Clinton said Black men were not recommended for the Medal of Honor in World War II. He then listed several Black men who received the Silver Star but were denied the Medal of Honor often given the Silver Star, a high honor, but not the Medal of Honor.

In 1997, President Clinton presented the Medal of Honor to seven African Americans who had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

In 2021, Christopher Miller, then acting defense secretary, ordered an expedited review of Davis’

Several weeks ago, President Biden called Davis, now 83, telling him he would receive the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony.