Every week at Reran Tragedy, Editor-in-Chief Cal Alabaster Jr. draws on his considerable experience in Southern politics to round up news, notes, and blatantly pasted-in press releases that readers may have otherwise missed.
Alabama and Birmingham leaders and residents say they are excited about next year’s 50th anniversary of key civil rights events in the state and cannot wait to whitewash over the area’s continuing, deep and plentiful racial and social divides with tragic, knowing ignorance.
Almost fifty years ago, Birmingham—and the state—was a major battleground in the fight over whether America and the South would continue to treat blacks as a permanent second class or actually attempt to be the egalitarian, unity-driven society that the country had been in its words but not its deeds.
Almost fifty years later, white people with enough money live outside of the city because their progenitors fled the city after the civil rights movements’ successes, fearing the worst might happen should they or their children actually see a black person. The ongoing, entrenched poverty and many other social and governmental problems that are coped with by the blacks and poor whites left behind has made these real Birmingham residents deeply resentful of those who live in the suburbs and what they see as the suburbanites’ drive-by, condescending views of the city’s problems.
State and city leaders say Alabamians should be proud of the progress they have made.
“We have come a long, long way in the Birmingham area,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “Especially those who commute from south Shelby County every day.”
Bentley’s office said that the governor plans to make separate, but equally celebratory speeches in downtown Birmingham and in Shelby County to make sure that “everybody gets the point of how far the Birmingham area has come since segregation.”
Birmingham Mayor William Bell said he is also excited about celebrating 1963 and the political effects of integration on the city.
“I am so happy we have reached a day where we can come together and say, ‘We’re a new Birmingham, and that’s not a place where race has any influence,’” Bell said, “‘except in practically every goddamn issue that comes before the city government.’”
Residents of the Birmingham area are also excited to kind of pretend that they are not as divided as ever 50 years after the legal partition that racially separated the region began to crumble.
“We have overcome,” said Denise Johnson, 54, a black Woodlawn resident as she stood outside last week’s contentious Birmingham School Board meeting wearing a “Get that Uncle Tom [embattled Superintendent Craig Witherspoon] and His the [sic] Honky Cracker Shelby Co. White Devils He Prays To” T-shirt. “It’s great to be part of a society where people have become so united despite their differences.”
“I love Birmingham, I love being part of a place where we got over such a rough past,” said Craig Tyler, a 36-year-old white bank executive who lives with his wife and three children in Calera. “And when I can’t telecommute, when it’s the middle of the day, when it’s in downtown, when I’m sure I won’t get stuck there at night, I absolutely spend every second I’m forced to by my employer in the city.”
Bentley said Birmingham residents should be proud that they have settled into a deeply divided waste of potential nearly a half century after the state was forced by the federal government to stop making blacks do things like use different bathrooms than white people and to not look the other way when blacks who did not comply with the segregationist rules were hunted and killed like rabid dogs.
“Martin Luther King Jr. once said something to the effect that one of the greatest enemies of progress is that some people in society would rather choose the comfort of a deplorable status quo over pursuing the justice of a better world,” Bentley said. “I’m proud to say that in Alabama—and in the Birmingham area especially—we’re very, very comfortable people right now.
Shelby’s dark power grows as new public building is named after him in west Alabama
Black lightning crackled through the skies of the west Alabama town of Reform today before funneling as a twister of the energies of sin and the sacrifice of the tortured innocent into its terrible master’s soul as local officials on Friday dedicated a new vocational facility for young livestock named after longtime Alabama U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby.
Shelby, a Republican and Alabama’s immortal political demigod of appropriations, hailed the Richard and Annette Shelby Center for Teachin’ the Baby Animals the Work-Math as a way of giving Alabama’s young livestock the skills they need to create 21st century jobs in the state.
“Bwahahahahahaha! You fools! You dare not understand the awful power you have given me through these generous federal matching dollars for a local kick-in!” Shelby squawked at the terrified but thankful crowd. “Soon, enough public and semi-public facilities will be named after me to make me unstoppable during the short portion of the year that I spend in Alabama!
Shelby, thanks to his growing warlock senator powers, looks remarkably young despite being in his eighties. A recent study shows approximately 60 percent of all kind of useful public and semi-public facilities in Alabama are named after Shelby, surpassing late Alabama Sen. Howell Heflin, who Shelby executed years ago in brutal telekinetic combat over Moulton, and U.S. Rep. Tom Bevill, whose soul Shelby keeps in a pendant he wears around his neck as a message to all other congressional warlocks who might cross him.
In between chanting to his master in the ancient, unholy language of appropriations, Shelby’s press secretary said the senator’s evil power is expected to grow at least once more with the dedication of the Richard Shelby and Annette Shelby Utility, Maintenance and Floaties Shed at a public pool in Gordo during Congress’ summer recess.
This week in Alabama history
On April 18, 1831, the University of Alabama enrolled its first class in Tuscaloosa.
See? We came first, UAB.
So shut up.
Reran Tragedy is Weld’s satirical blog about politics and life in Alabama and the South. Much of what you will read here is fictionalized, except for all the parts that are unfortunately true because they are about politics and life in Alabama and the South. You can like this blog on Facebook.
The artist known as Cal Alabaster Jr., if that is his or her real name, may or may not also be the author of the Alabama humor blog called “King Cockfight.” If true, you may read Cal’s work there at kingcockfight.wordpress.com. You can also follow Cal on Twitter @KingCockfight or email Cal at firstname.lastname@example.org.