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Aint It A Shame

Poverty in Selma, Alabama

W C Patton Regional Director of The NAACP Report on Voting Progress in Dallas County in 1952

“The leadership is not what it should be. Those who have assumed this role have done a good job. Unfortunatley they have not received too much encouragement from the TOP BRASS. The leadership has come from mostly the lower echelon. There is some evidence of fear exisiting among those who are better qualified to lead. The fear of reprisal is much in evidence. Those better trained for leadership role, too often fail to assume any part in the struggle because of fear of jobs. This account in a large measure for the lothargy of the mass of our voters. The college trained Negro, refuses to interest himself in the strugle for the ballot. This is due to two causes, mainly, fear, fear for his jobe, and secondly too many are not aware of the value of the ballot to a citzen in a decmocracy. their philosophy is “ bread before the ballott”. W. C. Patton

From that report until today, nothing much has changed except the top brass have ran off the grass root leaders. They are enjoying the fruits of the labor of grassroots leaders. The top brass still do no live or worship in poor black communities.

I will tell you that this renewed interest in the poor is a sham, it is the top brass awareness of some money coming down the pipeline for the poor and they are positioning themselves to control it and do what they do, give the poor pennies, while they keep the dollars.

If the top brass have not done anything for the poor since 1952, what makes me think they will do it today. Go visit around a particular historic church and a historic college and you will find 50% of the homes and streets are not fit for human existence. And in those hostoric institutions are the soem of the most highly trained, degreed people in the city and county. Yet the poor who live there make a way out of no way.

I can never forget the grassroot intellecutal, fearless leader, Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, when she said after the 1964 debacle in New Jersey: “ these college trained negroes will sell out their momma for a job.

Nothing has been more true than in Selma, Alabama.

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