From The Huffington Post:
By Keith Rushing
Posted: 10/4/11 01:16 PM ET
Last week, a federal court’s decision allowed parts of a law to go into effect that essentially requires police to racially profile people while criminalizing undocumented migrants for being without immigration documents. The law and the decision upholding it shows that Alabama — in passing the harshest anti-immigration law in the nation — is still mired in its racist, segregationist past.
The message Alabama sent to brown people by passing this law — especially those thought to be migrants — is a simple one: Get out of Alabama. We don’t want your kind here.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, Alabama was a place of intense racial hatred. Montgomery, Ala., central to the Civil Rights Movement, is the city where, in 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested after sitting in the whites-only section of a city bus, leading to a massive and ultimately successful boycott of the city’s public bus system. A year later, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned segregation on public buses nationwide finding that the Alabama law allowing seating according to skin color was unconstitutional.
Despite that success, much of Alabama’s white residents were determined to defend their segregated way of life through brutal violence.
In 1961, some 200 white men in Anniston, Ala attacked the Freedom Riders, a racially integrated group of activists on a bus trip through the South. The bus was firebombed and the activists were beaten with pipes and bats.
Alabama is also the state where four little black girls were killed in 1963 in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.
After years of people putting their lives on the line and going to jail and the help of federal civil rights legislation, Alabama ended legalized oppression of African Americans that barred them from voting, from attending better resourced all-white schools and from many jobs that had been reserved for whites.
But a cursory look at the state’s history shows how Alabama was dragged kicking and screaming into accepting desegregation. It took enormous courage, self-sacrifice and the power of the federal government to force change. But by passing Alabama’s harshest anti-immigration law, the state has shown that while Jim Crow laws may not exist anymore, the spirit of Jim Crow, which is defined by white supremacy, is alive and well. (more…)
Filed under: Alabama, Arizona-copycat laws, Law Enforcement, Racism | Tagged: ACLU, Anniston, boycott, Civil Rights Movement, Freedom Riders, H.B. 56, Jim Crow, Margaret Huang, Obama, racial profiling, reasonable suspicion, Rights Working Group, Rosa Parks, segregationist, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, undocumented, white supremacy | Leave a Comment »