City could make Jubilee more inclusive

Published 10:01 pm Saturday, March 13, 2010

The 45th annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee is over and the Selma Fire Department has washed down the streets.

Hundreds of people gathered in Selma to recognize and honor that portion of history we here in the city own. No matter how you look at it, all of us who live here own a piece of that because of where we are.

Of course the focus always is drawn to the day the authorities beat on marchers. This is important. Many historians believe the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would not have taken the stand he did; the march to Montgomery would not have happened and the Lyndon Johnson administration would not have pushed so hard for voting rights if not for the events of Bloody Sunday.

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But Selma is so much more now. The city needs to grow beyond this one day in time.

It seems to me we could do so much more with honoring the past and showing how we evolved if Jubilee were more inclusive.

Here’s the idea: Turn Jubilee over to the city to organize and carry out. Make it a city-sponsored festival; bring in the Selma Chamber of Commerce under the capable hands of Sheryl Smedley and link it with the marketing talents of Tourism Director Candace Johnson.

Each of the members of the Selma City Council could appoint one member of a steering committee to direct the theme and events of Jubilee. The mayor, or his designee, could chair the committee, which would break down Jubilee into a series of mini-events around the theme.

It makes sense when you think about it.

Already the city provides the security for the event. Anyone who listens to a police band scanner knows extra patrols are on the streets and working overtime.

City public works department workers cleaned up Water Avenue late Saturday night after the street festival. The city’s garbage truck parked at the end of the street as workers picked up trash from the street and emptied overflowing trash cans. The street sweeper vacuumed Water Avenue.

On Monday, the city fire department washed down Water Avenue with power hoses as best as the firefighters could. Still, grease coagulated along the sidewalks, leaving residents and businesses to deal with the mess.

In services the city already donates thousands of dollars to see Jubilee through. Additionally, city council members donated money to the National Voting Rights Museum to see the event through.

This suggestion isn’t a dig against the National Voting Rights Museum, which has seen the Jubilee through for many years.

But it’s time for a change — a change that involves all of Selma in different aspects.

After all, this is the city where history lives. We ought to make our remembrances as special for ourselves as we do our tourists.

This is just one idea.

Leesha Faulkner is editor of The Selma Times-Journal. You may reach her at 410-1730 or e-mail her at