The state of Alabama is finally revising its constitution to eliminate some particularly nasty, arcane language left over from the bad ol’ George Wallace era of legalized racism. Seems the state constitution still mandates that there be separate schools for “white and colored children.”
Hard to believe in this day and age . . . . or is it? According to the AP:
The Alabama Constitutional Review Commission has voted to propose striking segregationist language from the Alabama’s 1901 constitution mandating separate schools for “white and colored children.”
The Anniston Star reports the commission voted 9-7 Monday to propose that Section 256 of the document instead say the state will maintain a system of public schools and drop references to segregation.
The passage hasn’t had legal authority since the civil rights movement and some state leaders say they’d like to strike the passage because it’s an embarrassment to Alabama.
So . . . let’s make sure this is clear. On a 16-person commission, seven people voted to keep the racist language in the state Constitution? The Anniston Star reports:
Reformers also hoped to eliminate the vestiges of racism in the document. In framing the Constitution in 1901, state leaders stated that their goal was to establish white supremacy by law. Those framers set up separate black and white school systems, and funded those schools in part through poll taxes intended to block African-Americans from voting.
Two past attempts to change Section 256 have failed.
Based on this history, should we be shocked that there is a group of knuckle-draggers who oppose the belated constitutional revision? Ostensibly, their concern is related to concern over future lawsuits concerning unequal funding to different school districts, not nostalgia for dem ol’ days in the land o’ cotton. Even so, how can anyone maintain that schools in underprivileged areas should receive less funding? Either argument is specious.
Now the commission’s recommendation moves on to the state legislature for debate when they reconvene this Fall. Gotta mark my calendar for that one.
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