Letter to the editor describes experience at St. James Hotel

Published 7:56 pm Friday, February 6, 2015

By Debra Hoover

The Selma Times-Journal


I am writing you today to let you know of an unfortunate incident that happened in Selma. My husband turned 50 years old on Jan. 17, 2015, and for his birthday he wanted to take a tour of significant Civil Rights locations. So we started planning our trip several weeks before his birthday. We were due to arrive in Selma the afternoon of Jan. 18, and we did arrive at 3:30 p.m. Someone from the Saint James Hotel had confirmed on Dec. 22, a reservation for the night of Jan. 18.

This reservation was to be for a king bed with tub, a room that overlooks the bridge on the river side.

When we arrived to check into the hotel we were informed that our room was not available and were offered a room with no view and just two double beds. As it were, the people from Paramount Studios had been given all of the river view rooms. I asked if they would request that one of the Paramount Studios parties vacate the room that we had reserved. They declined to do so.

The purpose of this letter is to make you aware that this business is treating out-of-town guests, as we are from the Chicago area, and probably others also, in a way that is probably not the best light to be shown on Selma and the state of Alabama. My husband has long since been a supporter of civil rights and wanted to experience the places that were significant to the movement, and this treatment was a real shame.

When high profile studio executives and movie stars are allowed to displace ordinary people, we start down a slippery slope to injustice.

This trip was a once in a lifetime endeavor for us, and our memories from Selma are not good ones.