I dream of a new constitution…forum held in Marion

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 17, 2002

MARION – It was created out of racial intolerance and gender discrimination; it left most of Alabama’s voters disenfranchised; and even today, it continues to be the biggest problem that Alabama faces.

These were some of the thoughts presented by guest speakers at an Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform (ACCR) rally held Wednesday at Judson College. The rally was part of a statewide bus tour put on by the ACCR.

The event was hosted by Judson College President Dr. David Potts.

While speaking at the rally, Auburn University History Professor Dr. Wayne Flynt, who is considered by many to be an expert on the Alabama constitution, called the present constitution a fraud, adding that it &uot;violated Christian ethics.&uot;

Flynt said the present constitution, which dates back to a document originally created in 1901, was created entirely by &uot;white males only,&uot; a &uot;racist&uot; document whose creation, he said, excluded both African Americans and women.

Flynt said the original constitution accomplished three things. It eliminated the voting rights of African Americans; it raised taxes for the poor while lowering taxes for the rich; and it transferred power from the municipalities and counties to the state Legislature.

Flynt said that the current constitution has more than 700 amendments, making it the largest constitution in the world.

He urged members attending the rally to vote for a constitutional convention.

Others speakers expressing similar sentiments at the rally included the Rev. Lawrence Wofford of Selma; Circuit Court Judge Marvin Wiggins; Francis Marion High School Senior Marsha Ford; Judson College student Elizabeth McCullum; Perry County Circuit Court Clerk Mary Cosby Moore; and Samford University President Thomas Corts, who is chairman of the ACCR.

Several of the other speakers also alluded to the problems of counties and cities not having home rule. Home rule allows cities and counties to pass laws without having to go through the state Legislature.

Cosby Moore, citing an example of such a problem, said that to raise funds for a Perry County Jail facility, funds, which, she said, would be obtained from county court costs, the county had to go through the state Legislature.

Corts also asked rally members to vote for Amendment No. 1 during the Nov. 5 general election, an amendment to the constitution, which requires that a &uot;new constitution must be approved in a statewide vote before it can be enacted.&uot;