It’s very difficult to publish a piece these days and not appear to be political.
And this piece is not meant to be political—but it is concerning.
It is true of both Alabama Democrats and Alabama Republicans.
And it’s something that many of us may not have noticed.
In talking with a State legislator he pointed out the current racial makeup of Alabama elected officials.
He said there are 35 Senators in the Alabama Senate—All 27 Republicans Senators are white; 6 of the 7 Democrats are black. (One vacant seat)
He said there are 105 Legislators in the Alabama House—All 76 Republicans are white; 26 of the 27 Democrats are black. (Two vacant seats)
Alabama is a white majority state as are most others, but in Alabama all major political offices are held by white Republicans.
Some Alabama politicians, like Mo Brooks, who recently announced he’s running for the U.S. Senate, stirs up his base by emphasizing this racial divide. According to al.com, Senatorial Candidate Mo Brooks on the day he kicked off his campaign for Alabama’s special Senate election in 2017, said “The Democrats, for decades now, have tried to divide Americans based on skin pigmentation.” Birmingham Watch reports that Brooks in his tweets and speeches “accused (Democrats) of stoking a “war on whites.”
The Alabama Political Reporter says exit polls show in the 2020 presidential election 71% of Alabama white men and 77% of white women voted for the Republican presidential candidate; 84% of black men and 94% of black women voted for the Democratic candidate.
Politically Alabama is not red or blue—we are white and black.
I would like to believe that most modern Alabama citizens don’t see politics as white or black, but the optics don’t look good.
And Alabama, as well as many other Southern states, has a dismal history in racial politics.
- Jim Crow laws and segregation
- Racial intermarriage
Slavery ended when the North defeated the South in the Civil War in 1865. If it had been up to Alabama political leaders, slavery would have continued.
Jim Crow Laws and segregation
Alabama passed numerous Jim Crow laws between 1865 and 1957— laws like “white woman nurses can’t help black men” and “no children are allowed to go to a place that is racially mixed.” Jim Crow laws were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. If it had been up to Alabama politicians, Jim Crow laws and segregation would have continued.
Between 1877 and 1943 more than 300 blacks were lynched in Alabama. Lynching was rarely prosecuted and Alabama never passed any anti-lynching laws.
The Supreme Court overturned the ban on interracial marriage in 1967 making Alabama’s law banning racial intermarriage moot. But it took until 2000 for Alabama to legislatively overturn its ban—the last state in the country to do so.
Alabama not like Georgia
Some people feel Alabama will one day be like Georgia and become a purple state. This is not likely to happen any time soon.
Georgians voted for a Democratic Presidential candidate and elected two Democrats to the Senate.
Georgia is becoming much more urban while Alabama remains mostly rural. Fifty-seven percent of Georgians live in metropolitan Atlanta while only 22% of Alabamians live in metropolitan Birmingham.
It shouldn’t be acceptable of state-wide elected officials that Republicans are all white and all but two Democrats are black.
By being aware that Alabama is so racially divided, maybe both Democrats and Republicans can find a way to be more inclusive.
David Sher is the founder and publisher of ComebackTown. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).
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