Black Belt mayors discuss Civil Rights preservation

Published: Aug. 13, 2022 at 7:23 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Mayors from four communities met in the Capital City to discuss the preservation efforts of the Civil Rights movement.

Mayors Steven Reed of Montgomery, Dexter Hinton of Marion, James Perkins, Jr. of Selma, and Delmartre Bethel of White Hall want to connect their communities to form a trail that tells the story of each town’s role during the era leading to the Selma to Montgomery march.

Mayor Hinton noted Montgomery and Selma are the centers of the Civil Rights movement, but there are some stories that have been left untold outside of those communities.

“We have a lot of activists that actually migrated from Marion,” Hinton said. “Dr. King found his wife there.”

Hinton added Marion has often been left out of getting tourists to see historic sites.

Mayor Perkins noted all four mayors are African American, which makes their meeting unprecedented.

“What you just witnessed, were for people who are direct products of that movement,” Perkins said, “We are the descendants of that movement.”

The mayors are working to identify resources needed to preserve historic sites, including funding, people, jobs, and infrastructure.

“I think we can do that through our Convention and Visitor’s Bureau,” Mayor Reed said, “I think we can do that by making sure that we tell not only just the Montgomery story but the regional story of civil rights in Alabama and in this nation.”

Nonprofit organization The Conservation Fund is partnering with the four communities as a project manager in the preservation efforts to help seek out resources.

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