Alabama’s 1901 Constitution is a severely outdated document in need of major revision, and the November election gives Alabamians an opportunity to overhaul that document. In an extremely rare case, every state senator and representative supports a plan to rewrite the state constitution.
The 1901 document was written by men who specifically wished to keep black citizens on the ground. While all of the racist provisions in the document have been struck down by the United States Supreme Court or changes in state laws or amendments to the Alabama Constitution, the racist language in the document still exists.
By voting “yes” in November, you’ll allow lawmakers to redraft the state constitution to make it more organized, eliminate duplicate amendments, and remove racist language. Here are some examples of racist language that would be removed.
Section 102 of Article IV: “The Legislature shall never make any law authorizing or legalizing any marriage between a white person and a negro or a descendant of a negro.”
Section 256 of Article XIV: “Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race” and “To prevent confusion and disorder and promote efficient and economical planning.” in the field of education, the Legislature may authorize the parents or guardians of minors desiring such minors to attend schools designated for their own race, to make an election for that purpose, to be effective for such time and to such extent as the Legislature may provide. “
The redrafting of the state constitution is designed to affirm Alabama’s status as a state that promotes racial equality among its citizens, rather than a state that encourages racial division. This is critically important for the future growth and development of the state. If you’re running a company looking to invest in Alabama and you happen to see information like that presented by another state competing for the same company’s dollars, it leaves a sour taste in those investors’ mouths.
State Rep. Merika Coleman is quoted by Ballotpedia: The Encyclopedia of American Politics as saying of the constitutional amendment, “It sends a message about who we are. It’s important for us to let people know that we are the Alabama of the 21st century.” that we are not the same Alabama of 1901 that didn’t want black and white people to marry, that didn’t think black and white kids should go to school together. We also want people to know that we’re open We want people to come to the state of Alabama, spend your tax dollars, and that we’re a state that’s a 21st century state again, all kinds of different people, all kinds of different cultures, and we don’t reflect that, what was in that constitution of 1901.”
If you happen to be a black citizen of Alabama and live with the knowledge that your state still has such language in the state constitution, that doesn’t make you feel like a person your state respects. The first section of the Alabama Constitution says this: “That all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
How can these words be interpreted when other words like those quoted above still exist in the governing legal document of the state. In 1901 he was 121 years old. We have made great strides in this state, especially in race relations. It is an absolute shame and disgrace to have such language in our constitution. It’s definitely time to put an end to it, and it’s that simple. Vote yes.
Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform issued this statement regarding the 1901 document: “The primary goals of the framers of the 1901 Constitution were to disenfranchise African Americans and poor whites in Alabama while centralizing power in the hands of a few special interests. in Montgomery. These goals have been achieved with stunning success. By 1903, the number of African-American citizens registered to vote had dropped from 181,000 to less than 4,000, and more than 40,000 white citizens had lost the right to vote as well. The voting restrictions of 1901 have been struck down by the federal courts, evidence of that embarrassing legacy still remains in our Constitution, and the centralization of power remains as strong as ever.”
What remains of racism is in our hands to consign to the dustbin of history. We’ve come a long way since Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus or when “Bloody Sunday” happened in Selma and “Bloody Tuesday” in Tuscaloosa or when dogs were unleashed on black people in Birmingham. The journey is by no means over. There are still many obstacles to racial equality in Alabama, but this is an excellent step toward eradicating a very dark time in Alabama’s history.
Gary Cosby Jr. is the photo editor of The Tuscaloosa News. Readers can email him at [email protected]