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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Those Who Do Not Know Their History Are Doomed to Repeat It

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on July 23, 2023


Eugene "Bull" Connor served as Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham, Alabama, during the 1950s and 60s. He strongly opposed the civil rights movement. His brutality against black Americans and whites of interracial goodwill was legendary.


As an avowed white supremacist, Bull Connor enforced legal racial segregation and denied civil rights to black citizens, especially during 1963's Birmingham Campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He is well known for directing the use of fire hoses and police attack dogs against civil rights activists, including against children supporting the protests.


Bull Connor’s mantra was, “Damn the law. Down here, we make our own law.


National media broadcast Bull Connor's law enforcement tactics on television, horrifying much of the world. The outrages served as catalysts for major social and legal change in the Deep South and contributed to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.


Back to the Future


Last week, Alabama returned to the Bull Connor era in bold fashion when it proudly rejected a U.S. Supreme Court mandate to revise its Congressional districting map for the purpose of creating two majority black districts as a remedy for the state’s purposeful racial gerrymandering of its Congressional districts.


In Milligan v. Allen (June 8, 2023), the ultra-conservative U.S. Supreme Court found that:


“[E]lections in Alabama were racially polarized; that “Black Alabamians enjoy virtually zero success in statewide elections”; that political campaigns in Alabama had been “characterized by overt or subtle racial appeals”; and that “Alabama’s extensive history of repugnant racial and voting-related discrimination is undeniable and well documented.”


An example of the Court's finding of "repugnant racial and voting-related discrimination" lies in this sad fact: Today, the Alabama Supreme Court is all-white in a state that is 26% black. This all-white status has existed since 2001. What is worse, the state's supreme court is led by Tom Parker, a Confederate flag waving chief justice who "pals around" with known white supremacists.

IMAGE: Confederate flag-waving Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker (center) sandwiched between two reputed white supremacists, circa 2004.

In an Alabama Supreme Court case decided on November 18, 2022, Chief Justice Parker asserted (in a concurring opinion) that the state Supreme Court had no duty to blindly follow the mandates of the U.S. Supreme Court. Former Alabama governor George Wallace called this viewpoint the "doctrine of interposition and nullification."


On Friday, Alabama’s Republican-controlled state legislature and Republican governor resurrected Bull Connor’s mantra in grand style. They sent this loud, clear, and unified message to the world: “Damn the law. Down here, we make our own law.


This is why I will not spend one second of my time bashing Carlee Russell. She deserves my empathy, love, and support, not my criticism. The people who are suppressing our legal rights on every front have my time and attention. We must stop them before it is too late.


Like Bull Connor, these Republican state officials will hurt our children and grandchildren and think nothing of it.


As a people, African-Americans in Alabama have been dragged back into the legal battles that our people fought and won in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Once again, we are in the fight of our lives.


I am frightened because our leaders today have demonstrated to me that they have no fighting skills.


Only those who are truly ignorant of American history do not realize what is happening to us.


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Kamar Jones
Kamar Jones
Jul 24, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

So called "black" conservatives that are remaining silent on Alabama openly defying the SCOTUS should be ashamed of themselves.

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