By: Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on January 10, 2024
An Editorial Opinion
I have written about Nikki Haley’s racial transformation from Sikh Indian to ”White." Haley is running for president, and she is doing it as a “White” person. Through sheer will-power, Nikki Haley has made herself “White.”
Of course there is no legal foundation for Nikki Haley's new "White" racial identity. In the case of United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, 261 U.S. 204 (1923), the Supreme Court ruled that Sikhs like Nikki Haley are “Colored” people.
Haley’s racial transformation is more of a figment of her imagination than it is a legal reclassification of her race.
Birmingham-Southern is Undergoing a Racial Transformation of its Own
Not surprisingly, Birmingham Southern has started the process of transforming itself into an HBCU for the sole purpose of sucking down operational money out of the city of Birmingham's financial coffers.
Late last year, Birmingham-Southern found a way to gouge Birmingham's dwindling base of taxpayers out of $5 million to keep the college afloat.
Birmingham-Southern joined a long list of deadbeat white organizations that have found financial survivability by sticking their spigots into the city’s last few gushers of revenue streams.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) started the trend of siphoning money out of city coffers when it ripped off Birmingham’s neighborhood improvement funds for $90 million and redirected this money over a 30-year period to build a new football stadium for UAB. The University of Alabama Board of Trustees refused to fund UAB's stadium project.
The financially destitute World Games 2022 discovered that it could suck a quick $5 million out of the city’s coffers, while attending the Grammys in Hollywood.
In addition to partying in Hollywood, the city's "bailout" money was reportedly used to get a couple of well-placed and undisclosed local "influencers" a chunk of "equity," which was later redeemed in the sale of Gene Hallman's Eventive Sports to Arizonia-based Troon.
Word has spread throughout the state of Alabama that if you own a deadbeat white business, you may qualify for $5 million from the city, as well. No credit check is required, as evidenced by the fact that Birmingham-Southern has a "junk bond" debtor rating.
No Black "junk bond" debtor in America has ever qualified for a $5 million loan or grant for any project.
The city's program for saving deadbeat white organizations paved the way for an amphitheater developer and Birmingham Southern to plug their spigots into the city's revenue streams to get $5 million each.
This year, Birmingham-Southern agreed to host the city’s annual Unity Breakfast next week.
The Unity Breakfast was started by real men of courage like James Armstrong, Simmie Lavender, Colonel Stone Johnson, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Ben Green, Calvin Haynes, Tommy Wren, Doyal Reed, Washington Booker, III, and other brave Black civil rights fighters whom the leadership at Birmingham-Southern College did not like. These men proved to Alabamians that they could not be "bought off" and would not "sell out" the civil rights agenda in the state to anybody for any amount of money. They had backbones of steel.
Birmingham-Southern President Neal Berte (1976 to 2004) wrote a handwritten letter to Major Richard Arrington Jr., in which Berte opposed my successful legal representation of Arrington in the face of U.S. Attorney Frank Donaldson's mean-spirited, unrelenting, four-year battle to purge Arrington from office and imprison him. Arrington allowed me to read Berte's letter before he balled it up and threw it in the trash can.
Neal Berte wrote his letter to Mayor Arrington after U.S. Senator Howell Heflin, who was White, placed a detailed report about Frank Donaldson's lawlessness as U.S. Attorney into the Congressional Record.
What is most bothersome about Birmingham Southern's spigot is this series of historical facts: First, Birmingham-Southern comes to the scene of the Unity Breakfast drenched in its own history of racism against blacks. Second, Birmingham Southern turned its back on HBCU Daniel Paine College when Daniel Paine needed BSC's help the most. Third, Birmingham-Southern’s absence on the frontline of the 25-year battle to desegregate Alabama colleges and universities in the Knight v. Alabama was inexcusable.
From 1981 to 2006, not a single one of Alabama’s 30 historically white public colleges and universities (HWCUs) advocated for awarding equitable state funding to historically black Alabama State University (ASU) and Alabama A&M University (AAMU) in the higher education desegregation case of Knight v. Alabama.
During the 25-year court fight in Knight v. Alabama, Birmingham Southern College stood quietly on the sidelines and never lifted a finger to help ASU and AAMU win the battle for equitable state funding and new academic programs.
Birmingham-Southern’s only noticeable response to the long battle to desegregate Alabama's educational institutions after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in schools and colleges in the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education was to literally wall itself off from the surrounding predominantly black Bush Hills neighborhood some 22 years later.
In 1976, Birmingham-Southern installed a majestic wrought iron fence around its 127-acre campus after the tragic abduction, rape, and murder of Quenette Shehane, a 21-year-old Birmingham-Southern student. The planning for this fence actually began in 1972 after Birmingham-Southern's attempt to flee the Bush Hills neighborhood by selling its campus to ASU fell through.
Birmingham-Southern is Financially Broke and Collapsing
Today, Birmingham-Southern is financially broke and struggling. The college remains on the verge of collapsing.
The college is still seeking $30 million from the state of Alabama and $2.5 million from Jefferson County to stay afloat. The city's $5 million has been delivered to the college.
Birmingham-Southern President Daniel Coleman has tasked state Rep. Juandalynn Givan, state Senator Roger Smitherman, and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, all of whom are Black elected officials, with the responsibility to secure the state's $30 million in "bailout" money for the college.
These public officials are Birmingham-Southern's ordained "saviors." What is more, these "saviors" feel compelled to deliver for President Coleman and Birmingham-Southern, at all costs.
None of these "saviors" has ever tried to deliver $37.5 million to Miles College in a single, special purpose, funding campaign.
None of these "saviors" seems to remember that Daniel Payne College, an HBCU that was named after the first black president of a college in the United States, was forced to close in 1979 due to inadequate funding. When this sad closing event occurred, Birmingham-Southern did not lift a finger to help Daniel Payne survive.
Birmingham-Southern is pimping Black elected officials to help the college secure taxpayer "bailout" funding that should be legitimately channeled to HBCUs in Alabama to compensate them for the gross underfunding that these institutions have experienced for over a hundred years.
As expected, Birmingham-Southern’s chosen "saviors" have never led the charge for taxpayer funding for any HBCU. Furthermore, they have an established track-record of gladly playing the “sugar-daddy” role for deadbeat white organizations that need money from city taxpayers.