Friday, October 01, 2010

Montgomery Using Blight Ordinance to Destroy Homes of African Americans

When we think of the Civil Rights Movement, some cities stand out more than others, like Montgomery, Ala., for instance. Montgomery was where the historic bus boycott officially started on Dec. 1, 1955. On that day, African Americans decided that they would boycott the city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted, as opposed to being relegated to the back of the bus.

Yes, Montgomery is a city steeped in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. However, the landscape of the past may be destroyed and lost to the practices of gentrification.

Montgomery officials have been declaring homes "blighted" and condemning them. Karen Jones' home was declared blighted and bulldozed with most of her belongings still inside. To add insult to injury, the city sent her a bill for $1,225 for the demolition, forcing her to pay or suffer a lien on her property. The sad thing is that this is happening to many African American homeowners in the city at an accelerated rate. Residents have accused the city of taking their property without just compensation, and many of the properties are ending end up in the hands of wealthy developers.

David Beito, a history professor at the University of Alabama, who as chair of the Alabama State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held hearings on the demolitions in April 2009, describes what is happening as “a civil rights crisis.” Ironically, many of the homes that have been demolished are located along a commemorative trail that runs through Rosa Parks' former neighborhood

5 comments:

Brown English Muffin said...

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But I still respect and appreciate it and only take in small doses...swallowing as much as I can!!!

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