In 2004, Alabama residents voted to keep segregation language in their state Constitution. Over 690,000 people supported leaving the phrase “separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race.” It was a close vote, but ultimately, the phrasing remains.
This November, residents will vote again to see if their state’s Constitution can finally be rid of what has been described as “Alabama’s most shameful law.”
Critics of the new proposed amendment are concerned that a previous amendment (known as Amendment 111) to the law will also be removed.
Spearheaded by Sen. Albert Boutwell in 1956, Amendment 111 states: “Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at public expense.”
Many believe the amendment was written to suppress integration. But there are those who disagree and want the amendment to stay.
The Anniston Star reports the most unlikely of groups that is not convinced that the law should change — black Democratic leaders.
Joe L. Reed, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Conference, one of the state’s most influential black political groups in the region, told the paper that in sample ballots the group sends out, the ADC will urge its supporters to vote no.
“This has already been overturned by federal decree,” he said.