|80 percent black Selma: can they keep a Sonic open?|
...a ribbon-cutting at the local Sonic drive-up restaurant. In the past few months, Selma has lost two of its biggest department stores: J.C. Penney and Goody’s. The restaurant event offered a rare bit of good economic news.
“Technically it’s more of a reopening than an opening,” KimbroughBallard said. “The place looked terrible. Thank God Sonic saw fit to invest thousands of dollars in it instead of picking up and leaving.” The restaurant was festooned with balloons and a big red ribbon.
Today, almost all the top elected officials in Selma and surrounding Dallas County are black. Ballard, who is white, stood next to Mayor George Evans, who was elected in 2008 as the second black mayor in Selma’s history. Also in the ribbon-cutting line was Benny Lee Tucker, a City Council member and one of the heroes of the Bloody Sunday march. The mayor snipped the ribbon, and a Sonic regional marketing executive handed out raspberry and lime sodas.It should be noted this is the second time since 2009 the Sonic in Selma has re-opened (in 2009, the Selma Times-Journal reported there were 533 job applications to work there), with the building torn down in late 2014 for the latest incarnation of the outpost for civilization in the heart of darkness that is 80 percent black Selma.
It's a black city, dominated by black elected officials and a government seemingly run for black people, of the black people, and by black people. Yet businesses continue to flee across the famed Edmund Pettus Bridge, which attracts a few out-of-towners every March to walk across it like an American version of Hajj.
A holy pilgrimage to bathe in the eternal waters of white guilt pumped continuously by images of "Bloody Sunday" from Selma in 1965...
One day those waters will stop flowing.
Perhaps it will be the day when the celebrated Sonic closes, another business fleeing 80 percent black Selma...
Or, perhaps one day it will become illegal for a business to close up shop in 80 percent Selma... [Selma, 50 years after march, remains a city divided, Los Angeles Time, 3-6-15]:
"Some people have a need to not be satisfied," said Jamie Wallace, who in 1965 was an editor at the Selma Times-Journal. He stood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge with civil right marchers when they were attacked on Bloody Sunday. He and other newspaper staffers resisted enormous pressure from advertisers, subscribers and the Selma elite to ignore the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the marchers.
This weekend, he will be presented a Living Legend Award by Selma's mayor, a black man. Things were bad in 1965, Wallace said. They are still bad.
"But I dispute anyone who claims we didn't change anything," he said. "We went from an all-white power structure to all black. That means something."
The Rev. Jesse Jackson sat nearby on a wicker sofa, watching Sanders and her volunteers work. "People coming to Selma in a celebration mood should be in a protest mood," he said. Sanders agreed.
"Sixty percent of Selma's children live in poverty," she told him. Jackson nodded.
"People assume there is a correlation between political power and economic power," he said. But a black power structure — mayor, city council, police force — is not enough.
"You change the political power, and the white business owners just move outside the city. So you have power over a doughnut hole. We need help to climb out of the doughnut hole," he said.
He went on to describe a plan in which the government would intervene to stop people from relocating their businesses. "It's the only way," Jackson said.A black power structure in Selma, an 80 percent black city, has represented the equivalent of an EMP-blast over the city only allowing one or two days of outside coverage of the city to exist: those days happen to correspond with the anniversary of the famed march across the bridge in 1965; what happens in the city when blacks are in charge the other 364 days of the year means absolutely nothing, unless it can be used to transmit a message of continued white oppression and persecution of defenseless, powerless blacks.
But blacks have all the power in Selma, and the city lights are going out. One wonders if there is even a working public water fountain in the 80 percent black city of Selma in 2015, obviously knowing that when the city was controlled by evil whites in 1965, at least a "colored" water fountain worked...
So now the black power structure wants to consider putting in place a plan to prevent individuals from closing the doors of their privately-held businesses, if they plan to relocate them outside the 80 percent black city of Selma...
After 38 years of being in business, J.C. Penny left the Selma Mall in early January of 2015; of the 33 J.C. Penny locations in Alabama, it was the only one to close... the closing was part of "a strategic priority to improve the profitability of our stores and position J. C. Penney for future success":
“Wow, that’s a surprise. It’s like one of the two anchor stores for the mall and Belk is the other,” said Mary Johnson, who was shopping at J. C. Penney on Wednesday. “With one of the anchors gone, I don’t know how the mall can stay open.”The 80 percent black population of Selma, the historic American city birthing the 'March Across the Pettus Bridge" (an event more important to the American narrative than Washington Crossing the Delaware), no longer has the ability to sustain a J.C. Penny...
An editorial in the Selma Times-Journal bemoaned the closing of stores in 80 percent black Selma, without noting how these stores are no longer capable of producing the profits required to keep them open; a true testament to the type of community and social capital black people create (hey, Sonic has had to have grand re-openings TWICE in the past six years in Selma...). [Selma Mall can still succeed, even after closure of Goody’s and J.C. Penney, Selma Times-Journal, 3-3-15]:
Like J.C. Penney in 2014, Goody’s is closing its location at the Selma Mall at the end of March.
At this point, it’s not clear what the mall’s future plans are when it comes to attracting new businesses to replace the vacant buildings left by the major retailers that once called it home.
The closings are crippling to a city whose leaders echo the message “Shop local” at every given opportunity. Leaders in Selma understand how important it is that those in Selma try to shop here first, creating extra tax dollars and more opportunities for growth within the city.
That’s why it’s so disheartening when stores the caliber and size of Goody’s and J.C. Penney close in Selma. That’s not to say that lack of support is the reason the stores closed. Business could always be better, but J.C. Penney closed dozens of stores as part of company wide decision and Goody’s has not made any formal announcement about its reasoning from the corporate level.
Selma needs its mall to succeed, which is why the next few months are so important. We’re optimistic that the mall can be a vibrant shopping center with options for shoppers for all ages, but it’s going to take some work. Whatever the mall’s future holds, it will need the investment of the community in order to succeed.80 percent black Selma doesn't have the population capable of keeping J.C. Penny or Goody's open; it does, however, have an 80 percent black population capable of requiring Sonic to close twice in six years for grand re-openings...The Visible Black Hand of Economics has struck the city of 80 percent black Selma.
Again, blacks secure control of the city of Selma, and yet no one wants to be there save a few politicians and white journalists every March when the annual pilgrimage to this religious icon commences...
Selma is 80 percent black; by 2020, the city will likely be 90 percent black.
They control the city's present and will determine its future, free of white people obstructing individual black people's collective drive... and yet the city celebrates the opening of a Sonic as if its a favored son returning from war a great hero.
The perfect embodiment of what individual black potential collectively manifests in America...