• 46°

Selma should respect and up keep historical buildings

Dear editor,

I’ve been on a passionate journey of preserving African-American structures, cemeteries, etc., for more than 12 years. The shame of the mayor and city council and the community to allow the utilities to be turned off, making the Good Samaritan Hospital another neglected, abandoned structure here in Selma.

I’ve lived here for 2 years, have seen the African-American community being destroyed around our historical churches. Many of these structures are historical, meaning they are more than 40 years old. We have many African-American structures older than 40 years old. Many churches are older than 100 years old. We as a people must honor these structures, We must remember they were built by the sweat of our ancestors. Each time this writer sees an old building she feels the presence of a slave who built some of the buildings here in Selma (as we do when we see our White House in Washington D.C.) If you can feel that way about the White House, why not about the Good Samaritan?

Must we as a community who believe in justice for all allow these structures to be neglected until there is no history left to remind us of the struggle which happened here in Selma? The bridge to the White House doesn’t look like that — with all the abandoned, neglected buildings. My great grandchildren will not come to Selma and see anything that they will be able to recall the struggle.

The Good Samaritan was a hospital in 1940 and built on its site in 1944. The building is 65 years old. It’s had some changes in those 65 years. It’s the history behind this grand, old building that holds the key to the right to vote.

The blood of our forefathers and foremothers’ blood was in that hospital. Their tears are still there. We forget that this was the only hospital that would accept African-American (“blacks”) in Selma and surrounding counties. Have we forgotten what the priest and nun went through to protect the African-American from Jim Clark and the KKK, who didn’t want them to help our freedom fighter?

I don’t write often to the editor unless I’m passionate about issues. This is one of those times. I was researching for this letter and found a little about the priest who was here during the struggle. One was Father James Robinson, who joined the struggle and was one of the original people on the bridge, even after being told by the bishop not to be involved. He wrote a letter to Sheriff Jim Clark regarding the brutal attacks.

Father John Crowley took out a full-page ad Feb. 7, 1965, “The path to peace in Selma.”

It should be printed again. We truly need peace in Selma. There must be a cure for all the angry, the unforgiving. If we allow this hospital to be neglected and not restored as an honor to those who helped bring the right to vote and the bridge to the White House, shame. Shame on you as a community and a city council. You need to work together and bring about the change we need here in Selma.

Millie Lee Dulaney

Selma