Go Fund Me campaign started to help 2018 Battle

Published 10:08 pm Monday, February 13, 2017

After hundreds of emails, Facebook posts and phone calls showing support for the Battle of Selma, organizers have started a GoFundMe page to raise money for next year’s battle.

Candace Skelton, Battle of Selma committee chairman, said the influx of support has brought hope for a battle in 2018.

“It make us feel very hopeful in what we’re trying to do as far as educating people on our Civil War history,” Skelton said. “When an event has been going on for over 30 years, you have to start wondering if it is still giving back to the community like you want it to … so it kind of helps us to get a reality check to find out that the support is still there.”

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This year’s battle, which was scheduled for April 20-23, was canceled Feb. 1 after organizers received a letter from the city requesting more than $22,000 for “in kind” services.

“Something that has had a success rate of 30 years, sometimes that’s hard to come by,” Skelton said. “So any annual event that can bring people into town is such a positive thing, and we want to continue it.”

The $22,054.22 would cover services from the police and fire departments, as well as public works. Selma Mayor Darrio Melton said the amount was calculated based on services that were requested from battle organizers.

James Hammonds, president of the April 1865 Society, which puts on the battle, said there was not enough time to raise the money, which was a 76 percent increase on the event’s entire budget.

Hammonds said the request was based on what services the city has provided in the past.

Skelton said there were many people that were hopeful 2017’s battle could still go on, but due to the short notice that wasn’t a possibility.

“With reenactors’ schedules and the timing of everything, we couldn’t make that a reality,” she said. “But we feel confident through the support and outreach that we’ve received that 2018 could very much possibly be a reality.”

Since the cancelation, Skelton said organizers have met with city officials to discuss next year’s battle and what it will cost.

“We’re just trying to get realistic numbers to see where we could cut down. We would like a line-item budget so we can see where maybe we can take on this part of it and not put that burden on the city and not put that financial burden on us,” Skelton said.

“There are some things we’re going to have to have regardless. If we’re having an event, safety is first, so we’re going to have to have the police support, and if we’re having live burns, then of course we’re going to need the fire department there.”

Skelton said she also hopes more volunteers will give their time to help relieve some of the costs.

People interested in making a donation can go to www.gofundme.com/save-the-battle-of-selma. Skelton said becoming a member of the April 1865 Society also helps. For more information, visit www.battleofselma.com.

“We just really appreciate everyone’s support, and we look forward to working with the community and any volunteers, the city and any other supporters to continue this event,” Skelton said.