Working together can bring progress

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2006

In the Wednesday, June 14 edition of The Selma Times-Journal, we published an article written by John Fleming.

Fleming is an editor at The Annistan Star, and is currently reporting on economic and social justice in Alabama’s Black Belt during a fellowship with the Alicia Patterson Foundation.

In the article, Black Belt politicians and historians repeatedly pointed to one common theme they believed would bring economic growth to the area: Cooperation.

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“Until a black politician in the Black Belt can really cross that line and be a reconciler, then we won’t move forward,” Dallas County Probate Judge Johnny Jones said.

“What you see in much of the Black Belt is that the gains of one generation have been lost by the selfishness of the next,” professor and historian Wayne Flynt says of some Black Belt politicians.

“We don’t want to share the power. We have leaders who won’t dare work with white leaders. That’s

our problem. We aren’t using all our resources.” said Perry County Commission Chairman Johnny Flowers.

Over and over again, those interviewed for the article – both black and white – admit there needs to be more cooperation in order to move the Black Belt forward.

It’s really not a unique idea. We all know you get more accomplished when everyone is pulling the same direction.

Everyone – black and white – wants the same things: Economic opportunities, a good education for their children, safe drinking water, the ability to feel safe in their home and neighborhood.

Why can’t we start there, agree to accomplish those things, and move on?

The politicians know what needs to be done. So do the citizens. It’s time we all start pulling the same direction. And if our elected representatives aren’t doing that, we need to elect new ones next go around.