By Dyann Robinson
Director, Tuskegee Repertory Theatre, Inc.
Wrong!! Wrong!! Wrong!! The Supreme Court decision to do away with the map identifying states that need pre-clearance to change voting laws is wrong. What the state of Alabama did in Macon County is proof positive of that. Yes we do still have racist state government officials, and former Governor Bob Riley, current Governor Robert Bentley, and current State Attorney General Luther Strange are three perfect examples:
You don’t have to beat people in the street, or utter bigoted remarks and say the “N” word to be racists. Today’s racists have found other ways to get their way. They have found another way to lynch. Former Governor Riley, followed by current Governor Robert Bentley and current State Attorney General Luther Strange, have shown how lynching is now done, by illegally closing down the gaming facility, VictoryLand, made possible in Macon County by a State Constitutional Amendment voted for by the people in Macon County, thereby nullifying our vote and killing our economy.
How can something that has existed for seven years, without state opposition suddenly be so blatantly illegal? How can the Governor and State Attorney General step in, suddenly, and ignore the authority of the Macon County Sheriff, given to him under the State Constitutional Amendment passed, that allowed gaming in Macon County, and declare the gaming machines used at VictoryLand illegal, when the Sheriff says they are not, and no court has ever declared that they are?
Pre-clearance was in effect when the actions to close Macon County’s gaming industry were taken. The Attorney General did not get pre-clearance to amend the State Constitutional Amendment, that allowed gaming in Macon County, to override the Macon County Sheriff, so the action taken to close Victoryland was done in defiance of the Voting Rights Act that was then in effect, and was, and still is, therefore, illegal. Not only that, the action of our highest state officials says to the majority black County of Macon,
“Not only does your vote not count, but who cares if your economy, which you tried to uplift with your vote for gaming, is devastated.”
Alabama has never ceased to be racist. It has, like a great monster, been held kicking and screaming, bound by the Voting Rights Act. Now, however, the monster is loose again, in one last desperate attempt to keep white supremacy alive. Let it be known however that while no one may ever be able to completely kill racism, we, the black citizens of Alabama and the United States of America will not rest until there will be no peace for that monster called racism until it rests again in shackles. We will fight back with the very weapon that the monster called racism is trying to tear away from us: the vote.
We say to the racist monster that is Alabama, “We, your black citizens, have renewed energy, and on top of that, in the very near future, there will be more of us then there are of you. We know that that is your ultimate fear. The fight is on!! Watch Out!!”