Walking Across the Edmund Pettus Bridge

A Holy Relic in BRA

Later today, a video will be uploaded that represents a monumental moment in my life: my crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma, Alabama. This bridge has become a holy relic in the formation of Black-Run America (BRA), on par with the legend of the Tuskegee Airmen; the Montgomery Bus Boycott; and the events that transpired in Birmingham that moved a nation to accept sweeping changes that culminated in the ruination of Detroit, Baltimore, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Memphis, and numerous other cities throughout America.

When you see the ruins and abandoned areas of Montgomery, Selma, Tuskegee, and Birmingham – strangely left-out of the entire Civil Rights narrative – and then rebuilt sections of these cities (save Tuskegee), you realize that the costs of tolerating the proliferation of BRA can never be calculated.

How many times have new suburbs been built, complete with commercial infrastructure and shiny new strip malls, that would be abandoned only a decade or so later. The Black Undertow always finds a way in, no matter what precautions are taken to impede its progression.

Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Dallas, Indianapolis, and many other cities have similar patterns of white flight into new suburbs, followed by the subsequent trickle of the Black Undertow. Soon, it is a torrent and the new suburb must be abandoned.

BRA is responsible for the largest ecological disaster in human history, as flying across any metropolitan area offers a glimpse at the urban sprawl created by the necessary abandonment of major cities to the ravages of Black people who remain incapable of sustaining the standards of civilization left behind by those moving away to create new cities out of nothing.

In time, those new suburban enclaves will be abandoned and the process must continue, forcing families hoping to live in crime free communities scores of miles away from major commercial cities. Congestion on the highways  

It all started with a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

History has been kind to the people who crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge hoping to usher in a new area of stability, racial harmony and peace. As I crossed that bridge and looked upon a decaying city – whose entire riverfront business district, once thriving in more civilized times, is now abandoned – I wondered what hopes and dreams the citizens of Selma once had for the future.

On that day in 2011, something told me what lay before me wasn’t the culmination of those dreams.

Entire shopping complexes in Montgomery – the city that those who marched from Selma and crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on that hallowed day back in 1965 ultimately arrived in to global fanfare – have taken on the character of the majority population in the area. Where thriving business districts once existed, boarded-up businesses and deteriorating (though recognizable) edifices remain as a melancholy reminder that those who inherit an abandoned city lack the resources – mentally and financially – to sustain what they couldn’t create in the first place.

The Black Undertow inevitably washes over any new suburban city in America because they are built with the sturdiness of a castle on sand.  The erections of new suburbs – complete with new shopping centers that will one day rest, unused, in despondent decay –  represent impermanent solutions to an unsustainable situation.

I never wanted to cross that bridge and enter Selma, but it was a catharsis.

It’s fitting that the USA Today posted a story on how wealthy minorities tend to live in poor neighborhoods with other, less-well-off minorities:

The average affluent black and Hispanic household — defined in the study as earning more than $75,000 a year — lives in a poorer neighborhood than the average lower-income non-Hispanic white household that makes less than $40,000 a year.

“Separate translates to unequal even for the most successful black and Hispanic minorities,” says sociologist John Logan, director of US2010 Project at Brown University, which studies trends in American society.

“Blacks are segregated and even affluent blacks are pretty segregated,” says Logan, who analyzed 2005-09 data for the nation’s 384 metropolitan areas. “African Americans who really succeeded live in neighborhoods where people around them have not succeeded to the same extent.”

This is a telling story, for all the wrong reasons. Blacks who have succeeded in these poor neighborhoods have done so by opening businesses or providing services that those in their communities have been unable to replicate. Or they might be a government employee, living high on the hog that no private business could provide similar income or a career path for income augmentation.

White people (and to some extent, Asians) can move away from these areas – once the Black Undertow has come in – and create new, thriving suburbs. But Black people don’t have the ability to create similar communities nor can they sustain the ones left behind by fleeing whites.

Now, consider this scenario playing out in every major city in America and you should begin to understand the ecological impact that BRA has had on the country.

It’s fitting that the Edmund Pettus Bridge is a decaying bridge, tragically beautiful against the backdrop of a once thriving town. It’s a monument, a symbol to the enduring concept of BRA, and walking across it and entering Selma is a journey into the future of any new, shiny suburban city that white flight will create.

Inevitably, it will turn into a Selma and white people will be forced to find more land to build a shiny new castle on the sand upon.

The Black Undertow won’t be far behind.



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