Future of Selma, Black Belt bright

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 27, 2004

The future of the Black Belt is now.

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis delivered that message at last week’s 151st Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. Davis spoke to a crowd of around 260 people at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center, and when he was done the crowd stood, clapped and nodded their heads in agreement.

We do the same.

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Davis pointed to Kathi Needham and John Crear as examples of the Black Belt’s future.

Needham is the first woman chairperson of the chamber.

Crear is the first black chairperson-elect. &uot;People would be amazed to see the people in this room tonight,&uot; Davis said. &uot;We’re still trying to redeem ourselves in God’s eyes, but look how far we’ve come.&uot;

We can’t think of a better time to take a look at how far our community has come.

Lear Corporation, a tier II Hyundai supplier, is on the verge of locating multiple plants at Craig Field Industrial Park.

The plants are expected to supply 100 to 400 jobs.

Mayor James Perkins Jr. announced last year that Selma Works, a training program, would begin in February.

The program is expected to prepare residents of Selma and Dallas County not only for the new jobs, but also for positions left empty when the under-employed move to the new jobs.

Davis said that &uot;We need a sense of what the Black Belt can be, and we can achieve that by going and looking at that bridge. We remember what we used to be, but as imperfect as we are, we have made this community what it is today by overcoming our fears.&uot;

We believe our community not only has a sense of what it can be, but has also started on the path to becoming what it will be.

We’ve already crossed the bridge Davis referred to.

In the future there will be more bridges to cross.

And we’ll cross them together.