You’d think and hope that is a headline we wouldn’t have to write in 2017, but here we are, in an increasingly racist America controlled by Republicans and Donald Trump. Alabama, home of Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions, is slowly bringing back part of America’s dark past: segregation.
Gardendale, a small, 90% white suburb of Birmingham, has long been wanting to secede from Birmingham proper so they could control their schools and their tax contributions to the schools.While this doesn’t sound racist in and of itself, it will when we get into Gardendale’s real motives for the move.
Gardendale’s secession effort began four years ago, when a small group of parents began lobbying their neighbors and city council members. In 2013, residents voted in favor of raising property taxes to establish their own school system.
The Judge hearing the case agreed to allow Gardendale the chance to re-segregate themselves. As The Root reports:
U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala heard the case of Jefferson County Board of Education v. Gardendale City Board of Education and issued an extensive, wide-ranging ruling Wednesday. The case was not overly complex, and was mostly black vs. white. The white residents of Gardendale wanted to break away from the county’s schools, creating a new district that reflected the demographics of the city. The parents of black students in Gardendale’s schools said the white parents just wanted to get rid of the schools’ black students.
In her 190-page ruling, Haikala admitted that Gardendale City’s motivations were based on race and inequality. She pointed to a Facebook group with thinly veiled racist messages and wrote about flyers that listed “some of the best” white schools that had already left Jefferson County Schools alongside a list of “bad” racially mixed schools, with a white child asking, “Which one will you choose?” The report noted that the flyers delivered an “unambiguous message of inferiority.” The ruling reprimanded the parents for their continued reference to “Smithfield kids” (a reference to a mostly black section of Jefferson County whose children attend Gardendale schools) in a degrading manner.