By: Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on July 14, 2023
An Editorial Opinion
More than 4,000 residents, 92% of whom are black, are suffering and dying a long, slow, and painful death in North Birmingham and the City of Tarrant from cancer and respiratory problems so that the members of this prominent Alabama coal mining family can enjoy riches derived from industrial-scale coke producing plants that poisoned the air they breathe and the ground underneath their feet in the neighborhoods surrounding the old ABC Coke plant.
Meet the Drummond family. They are presented in the chart accompanying this article. These are the family members who benefited, directly and/or indirectly, from the wealth created as a result of a century of environmental injustices that were inflicted upon 4,000 or more residents of North Birmingham and Tarrant.
Sadly, black Birmingham area public officials, community activists, civil rights leaders, attorneys, and social media influencers escorted many of these North Birmingham and Tarrant residents on the marches to their deaths. These escorts gaslighted the affected residents every step of the way, from 2013 to 2022.
My July 13, 2023, article titled, "Black Leaders Helped Southern Company Condemn North Birmingham Residents To A Slow, Painful Death," describes the despicable roles each participant was assigned to play in this tragic event.
Many of the so-called "black leaders/influencers" who actually participated in the North Birmingham and Tarrant death marches are listed in the chart below. They literally "hijacked" the process of seeking environmental justice for these residents for the sole purpose of helping the guilty parties escape justice.
The chart depicted above was prepared in 2015 by two consultants who were hired by the Southern Company's primary law firm -- Balch & Bingham. This chart was included in the Secret Plan that we publicly exposed for the first time yesterday.
All total, the blacks who participated in the death marches outlined in the Secret Plan to "hijack" the environmental protection rights of the residents of North Birmingham and Tarrant were reportedly paid less than $1 million to help ABC Coke, an affiliate of the Drummond Company, escape paying an estimated $150 million in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-mandated environmental cleanup costs for the company's role in polluting in the neighborhoods in North Birmingham and Tarrant.
ABC Coke is one of five heavy industrial polluters listed in the bottom left side of the chart depicted in the Secret Plan. Each polluter was expected to pay an estimated $150 million in cleanup costs, for a total of $750 million.
Personally, I am not going to let North Birmingham and Tarrant residents die this way without one hell of a FIGHT from me to save their lives and preserve their dignity as human beings.
These residents owe me NOTHING, but I owe them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I actually give a damn about their health, safety, welfare, and quality of life.
In law school, I promised Mr. Ramus Rhodes, the janitor in Farrah Hall who personally mentored me as a law student for three years, that I would NEVER allow the forces that oppose our progress in Alabama to run roughshod over the rights of poor blacks like the residents of North Birmingham and Tarrant. In the 50 years since I graduated from law school, I have NEVER broken that promise.
I am waging this fight for Mr. Ramus Rhodes. I will NEVER betray him or my commitment to his legacy.
I am NOT "for sale" and I CARE about the full enforcement of environmental protection rights in North Birmingham and Tarrant.
My FIGHT has just begun and I have a "take-no-prisoners" attitude. The suffering in North Birmingham and Tarrant must and will end -- NOW!