The Land that Time Forgot

A Pulitzer Prize winning writer resorts to the “Birmingham 1963” defense

It was in his famous ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ that Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly…”

Those words were penned nearly 50 years ago in the tumultuous year of 1963; the same year of the infamous church bombing in Birmingham that killed four black girls and emboldened an already carnivorous national press to launch a full-out assault on all things white and southern.

In many ways, the specter of 1963 Birmingham that still haunts the narrative of race relations in America; dominating the anti-white animus which is pervasive in every aspect of contemporary 21st century American life.

“If we go back to the old days, then it will be just like 1963 Birmingham all over again,” is what Disingenuous White Liberals (DWL) whine and moan, knowing that time has completely forgotten the current status of Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham to most people will always be stuck in a perpetual state of 1963, with a never-ending and revolving cast of white bigots ready to guilt any young white person who dares question even the slightest pretense of greatness, glory, and divinity of diversity or multiculturalism.

But Birmingham is the land that time forgot; or at least the current condition of majority-black (nearly 74 percent of the citizens of the Magic City are black) is forever to be the fault of… Birmingham in 1963. That year is inescapable when it comes to determining all that is wrong with the city; never, and I mean never, can the current dilapidated and apparent “bombed” out condition of many parts of the city be blamed on the current majority population occupying Birmingham.

Instead, read Christopher Paul Curtis’ mass-market paperback fictional story ‘The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963’ – a story for children about a black family visiting Birmingham when their grandmother’s church is blown up by evil white bigots – and be instantly transported to the nefarious events of… Birmingham 1963.

Never mind the ruin the ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ helped to bring to, not just Birmingham, but the entire western world; that’s beyond debate, for the mantra of Black-Run America (BRA) is simply “give me equality, or give me death.”

And never mind the casualties in pursuit of equality — even if they happen to be our major cities.

So what is life like in Birmingham in the waning months of 2012, just before we endure a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of Birmingham 1963? [Gunfire common in west Birmingham neighborhood where 1 killed, 1 injured in shooting, residents said,Birmingham News, 11-30-12]:

When Nellie Pledger moved into her house at the corner of 48th Street Ensley and Terrace Q in 1995, crime was rampant in the area, she said. 

For a while it seemed things were getting better, but now gunfire rings out nightly sending Pledger dropping to the floor, fearing she might be an unintended victim. “Bullets don’t have names,” Pledger said. 

Outside Pledger’s home, decorated with Christmas lights and with her small dog, Midnight, yapping in the yard, Birmingham homicide detectives this evening worked to solve a shooting that left one person dead and another injured this afternoon. Ben Ward, a 23 year resident of the community, was feeding his dogs when he heard three shots at about 4 p.m. 

“It’s not as bad as it used to be, but it seems like it’s getting worse,” Ward said. A short distance from the crime scene, groups of teenagers laughed and tossed a football back and forth in Central Park less than two hours after the shooting. It wasn’t clear how badly the surviving shooting victim was injured, said Birmingham Homicide Lt. Scott Praytor. 

Detectives are interviewing witnesses at police headquarters and have not, as of this evening, spoken with the surviving victim, Praytor said. We’re trying to get all the pieces so we can put them together,” Praytor said. 

A preliminary investigation indicated the surviving victim went to Terrace Q to score some drugs but was robbed at gunpoint. Pulling a gun of his own, the two shot each other and both were hit in the chest, said Detective Jonathon Ross. 

The robber died at UAB Hospital. The surviving victim began driving up Third Avenue West, presumably trying to get to the hospital, Ross said. Birmingham police officers alerted to the shooting were waiting when the victim drove through the 15th Street West intersection, about two miles from the scene of the shooting, Ross said.

The pathetic economy, climate and culture of Birmingham in 2012, almost entirely created by it’s majority black population (where the almost entirely black city council just banned giving out business licenses to Title Loan and Payday Stores) … is not for debate, because it’s such an obvious improvement over Birmingham 1963.

What were those white bigots trying to stop anyway? Blacks from taking power and… oh. Creating the climate and culture found in Birmingham today.

The entire western world is held captive in a prison of “white privilege” by the ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ 

In a recent engagement with Joey Kennedy – whose Twitter profile states: Pulitzer Prize winning editorial writer; community engagement specialist for The Birmingham News and Alabama Media Group. UAB teacher. Has been called ‘baller.’ – he immediately pulled out the unbeatable “Birmingham 1963 trump card:

When prompted that Birmingham’s current condition might be the fault – or inability – of its majority black population to maintain the infrastructure they inherited from the white people they drove to the suburbs, Mr. Kennedy responded as only one could in 140 characters or less — @sbpdl Also, Birmingham was pretty ruined by racist white people bombing churches and attacking peaceful marchers in the streets. 

No one can dare counter the “Birmingham 1963” defense, with all debate on any subject instantly ending due to the moral superiority of those righteous black people who dared stand in defiance of law and order, which kept the thin line of civilization – the color line – intact.

But what happened to “the dream” of the same man who wrote ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’? While we act that 1963 Birmingham still is the only frame of reference one can work with when talking about the city, black political control of Birmingham proved ruinous to any hope of a prosperous future. Where once white families with young children dreamed of a future like that in the cartoon The Jetsons,  white flight quickly turned Birmingham’s future into that of The Flinstones: instead of lovable Cro-Magnon individuals like Barney and Fred, you got a city that devolved into an orgy of black crime and depressed property values [CAN THESE NEIGHBORHOODS BE SAVED?, Birmingham News, 8-19-2007]:

The core of metro Birmingham suffers slow-motion destruction. When heavy industry faded, neighborhoods followed. Across the Jones valley, businesses boarded up, people moved to the suburbs, thousands of homes were left to decay. It leaves everyone with a complex problem: How can we fight urban blight? 

The exodus created a broken real estate mar- ket in depressed neighborhoods where sellers outnumber buyers — and a city where thousands of houses and apartments were left to decay. What’s more, the Regional Planning Commis- sion of Greater Birmingham predicts urban blight will continue to swell. 

The commission projects that by 2030 the number of households will de- crease by 17 percent in East Lake and Woodlawn, 22 percent in the neighborhoods around the air- port, 27 percent in North Birmingham, 13 percent in Pratt City and Ensley, and 17 percent in West End. Since 1990, the city of Birmingham has demol- ished 7,948 single-family houses. This year, the city plans to spend $750,000 tearing down 423 more. Even at that pace, a backlog of more than 200 homes will remain. 

And the list keeps growing. Inspectors investigate 1,200 new complaints a year. The inspections initiate a protracted process that often ends with the property being boarded up, decaying to a point of danger and, eventually, getting demolished. Even when they’re gone, they’re a drain: The city spends $2 million a year cutting vacant lots. Meanwhile, decaying houses and overgrown lots cost residents who stay. 

A study in Philadel- phia found that a single abandoned property bleeds $7,627 out of the value of neighboring homes. Josephine Hardie, 67, sees that in her three- bedroom, one-bath home on Tennessee Avenue. The retired Hayes High algebra teacher has lived there since she was 6, when her father, a cook on the Silver Comet passenger train, bought it. Years ago, she wanted to move to Roebuck, but stayed to care for her mother. Today, she doubts she could sell the home for its assessed value of $54,000. With the condition of her neighborhood, she said, “It’s not worth that.” 

The vacancy chain 

For Mark LaGory, a sociologist at the Univer- sity of Alabama at Birmingham, Woodlawn of- fers a case study in the deterioration of inner-city communities. People who’ve left Birmingham, LaGory said, often drive through their childhood neighborhoods and shake their heads. 

“They say, ‘Isn’t it a shame what happened to the neighborhood?’” LaGory said. “Well, it is inevitable what happened to the neighborhood. That is the way our system works.” The government effectively subsidizes new home construction by giving federal backing to the mortgage industry and giving a tax deduc- tion for mortgage interest, he said. 

That leads to new and better housing, but puts pressure on older, less valuable homes. “For every house built, another house below it tends to go vacant. That creates a vacancy chain.” Those who can’t afford to move, LaGory said, stay and watch the neighborhood depopulate. The downward spiral discourages people from maintaining their housing. “Particularly since most of them don’t have a lot, why would they invest in something they know doesn’t appreciate?” LaGory said.

The Visible Black Hand of Economics in post-Birmingham 1963. But we can’t talk about that, can we Mr. Kennedy?



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