Tin Shop Tartan - Randolph County Alabama's Own Snarky and Surly Scot Gets All Native

Blogging from the suburbs of the Tin Shop community, Captain Plaid brings Progressivism, and a share of Quixotic angst, to the ridges and hollows of Randolph County, Alabama. Hardly a booster yet rooted here enough to fight, Plaidsters can perhaps find like cause in trying to build local solutions to global concerns. Education, environment, economy, entertainment, engagement ... Trust the Tartan!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Cull Alabama's Racist 1901 Constitution

First of all, a tip of the tam to Between the Links. Indeed Randolph County would benefit from a new constitution. In fact it was partly because the Big Mules feared poor Hill and Wiregrass farmers taking some power that scared the wealthy industrialists and planters into drafting the dreadful 1901 Constitution. There is no doubt that "home rule" would be better than having to go to Goat Hill with our hat in hand to beg the Big Mules for permission to do even the most basic functions of local government. That wingnuts like The Alabama Christian Coalition and especially that vile Roy Moore are against reform ought to make enlightened Alabamians even more inclined to push for it.

For a bit of a history lesson allow me (and more importantly Professor Wayne Flynt!) to assure you this 1901 effort was mainly about reeling in "fusion" efforts of poor whites and blacks (they were all mostly poor) in challenging the power structures of the Big Mules. In Eufaula and all over the state violence was used against these populist efforts. Here is just some of the language that was placed in the document:

Day Two - And what is it that we want to do? Why it is within the limits imposed by the Federal Constitution, to establish white supremacy in this State. This is our problem, and we should be permitted to deal with it, unobstructed by outside influences, with a sense of our responsibilities as citizens and our duty to posterity. ... The Southern man knows the negro, and the negro knows him. The only conflict which has, or is ever likely to arise, springs from the effort of ill-advised friends in the North to confer upon him, without previous training or preparation, places of power and responsibility, for which he is wholly unfitted, either by capacity or experience. When it comes, however, to dealing with the negro, in domestic service, or in a business way, the Southerner is infinitely more indulgent to him than his Northern compatriot. ... But if we would have white supremacy, we must establish it by law--not by force or fraud. ... These provisions are justified in law and in morals, because it is said that the negro is not discriminated against on account of his race, but on account of his intellectual and moral condition. There is a difference, it is claimed with great force, between the uneducated white man and the ignorant negro. There is in the white man an inherited capacity for government, which is wholly wanting in the negro. Before the art of reading and writing was known, the ancestors of the Anglo-Saxon had established an orderly system of government, the basis in fact of the one under which we now live. That the negro on the other hand, is descended from a race lowest in intelligence and moral preceptitions of all the races of men. ...
I'm going to save some, and there is plenty, for another day. But isn't this racist language enough! As Alabamians actually learn the history of this instrument's creation and how it has continually held our state back I think they will insist on trashing the whole wretched document. Peace ... or War!