Sen. Hank Sanders

Number 1550 - February 22, 2017



            There is a nexus of the past and the present and the future.  The past is very important.  The present is extremely important.  The future is critically important.  Each is separate, and yet all are tied together.  The nexus of past and the present and the future binds us together.

            The Bridge Crossing Jubilee is just two weeks away, commencing Thursday, March 2nd and running through March 6th.  The National Voting Rights Celebration is already upon us.  It     The future is rushing headlong toward us, and we don’t know what to do.  The nexus of the past, the present and the future binds us together.

            A powerful moment of history was forged 52 years ago.  It changed this country and altered the course of the world.  We are commemorating some of that history.  We are celebrating some of that history.  We are fighting to keep some historic accomplishments from just becoming part of the past.  The nexus of the past, the present and the future binds us together.

            Let’s briefly summarize that moment of history from 52 years ago.  Mighty struggles to secure voting rights for Black people were being waged across the South and beyond.  But there was a widespread consensus that nothing could be done; that no voting rights legislation could possibly pass the United States Congress.  But then history took over, creating the nexus of the past, the present and the future that binds us together.

            Jimmie Lee Jackson was brutally gunned down by an Alabama State Trooper in Marion, Perry County.  In response and in continuing the struggle for the right to vote, about 600 attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery on Sunday, March 7, 1965.  They were brutally beaten on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge by state and local law enforcement.  The brutality was captured on television.  It became known as Bloody Sunday.  At the call of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., people came from near and far.  Another march was scheduled, started and turned around.  It was dubbed, Turnaround Tuesday.  Rev. James Reeb was murdered. Others were beaten. There was a legal battle in federal court.  Within three weeks, the Historic Selma-to-Montgomery March, led by Dr. King, was completed. Viola Liuzzo was gunned down while transporting people back to Selma after the March.  The nexus of past, the present and the future binds us together.

            President Lyndon Johnson had moved with vision and courage to propose a sweeping Voting Rights Bill.  On August 6, 1965, the 1965 Voting Rights Act became the law of the land, and Black people, denied for the right to vote for centuries, now had a strong legal basis to vote.  The nexus of the past, the present and the future binds us together.

            But tens of thousands will come to Selma this March.  The Bridge Crossing Jubilee comprises 40-50 events over a five day period.  It starts with the Old Fashioned Mass Meeting on Thursday, March 2nd.  It continues with many workshops on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  There is the Jubilee Parade, the Jubilee Festival, the Freedom Flame Awards, the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast, and the services at Brown Chapel AME Church, Tabernacle Baptist Church, First Baptist Church and other churches.  There are too many events to name here.  The nexus of the past, the present and the future binds us together.

            Of course, thousands will march across the Bridge on Bloody Sunday.  We will commemorate the bloodshed.  We will celebrate victories won.  We will lift the commitments made and kept and to be kept.  The nexus of the past, the present and the future binds us together.

            But these moments on March 2-6 will not be just about what happened 65 years ago.  People marching on Bloody Sunday will be marching about what is happening now.  People will be marching about what must happen in the future.  Dr. William Barber, America’s most visible voting rights champion in the moment, will lead the March.  He will also lead the Slow Ride from Selma to Montgomery and facilitate discussions on voting rights in the State House at the end of the slow ride.  The past will be right there.  The present will be everywhere.  But the future will be the focus.  The nexus of the past, the present and the future binds us together.

            The nexus of history is heavy.  We sometimes carry history on our hearts, on our emotions, on our spirits, on our beings.  When we do it, it weighs us down.  But we can carry history in our hearts, in our emotions, in our spirits, in our beings, and it will lift and carry us. A third alternative is to place history down, stand on it so we can see farther and reach higher.  The Bridge Crossing Jubilee helps us to carry history in our beings so it lifts us.  It helps us to stand on history, reaching higher and seeing farther.  The nexus of past, the present and the future binds us together to serve one another.

            Now on to the Daily Diary.

            Saturday, February 11, 2017 – I walked, handled many matters and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following: Dickey Whitaker on his birthday, Josh Segall of Nashville on his birthday; and Edwin Ellis of Selma.

            Sunday – I walked, did Radio Sunday School with Dr. Margaret Hardy and Radio Education with Perry County School Superintendent John Heard, III.  I handled many matters as I worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following: Greene County Commissioner Lester Brown; Charles Sanders of Bibb County; and Thomasville Mayor Sheldon Day on his birthday.

            Monday – I walked, read Sketches on Faya’s Fire, handled various matters, traveled to Lowndes County, returned to Selma, handled additional matters, traveled to Greene County, returned to Selma and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following: Lowndes County Commissioners Carnel McAlpine, Dickson Farrior, Joey Barganier, Joshua Simmons and Robert Harris; Greene County School Board members Dr. Carol P. Zippert, Carrie Dancy, Leo Branch and Kashaya Cockrell; Greene County Commission members Tennyson Smith, Michael Williams, Corey Cockrell and Allen Turner, Jr.; Brenda Burke and Paula Bird of Greene County; Gloria Pompey of Selma; and Sharon Calhoun of Montgomery.

            Tuesday – I walked, chaired a breakfast meeting, handled various matters, and traveled to Montgomery for a Senate Democratic Caucus meeting, an Alabama Black Legislative Caucus meeting and a Senate session.  I returned to Selma and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following: Faya Rose Toure on Valentine's Day, WCCS President Dr. James Mitchell, Selma Banker Liz Rutledge; Ebony Rose of Selma; Dr. Rhoda Johnson of Tuscaloosa; Kirsten Barnes of the Senate Minority Leader’s Office; Senator Vivian Figures; and Senator Bobby Singleton.

            Wednesday – I walked, handled various matters, made it to Montgomery by 8:30 a.m. for an Education Committee meeting, attended a Finance and Taxation Education Committee meeting, facilitated a press conference on the Bridge Crossing Jubilee; attended an Alabama Legislative Black Caucus meeting and Judiciary Committee meeting, recorded a segment for Capitol Journal on APT (Alabama Public Television), attended a reception, returned to Selma and worked into the night. Among others, I communicated with the following: Lowndes County School Board Member Steve Foster of Alfa;  Dr. Walter Hill, of Tuskegee; and Paul Pinyan of ALFA.

            Thursday – I walled, handled various matters, traveled to Montgomery for a Senate Session and various meetings, shared a birthday lunch; returned to Selma and worked into the night. Among others, I communicated with the following: Law Professor Emeritus Martha Morgan; John Teague of Montgomery; Jimmy Baker of Post Secondary; Reporter Pamela Levy; Senator Roger Smitherman; Senator Priscilla Dunn; Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin; and Askhari Little of Spellman College.

            Friday – I walked and handled various matters as I worked from early morning to late night.  Among others, I communicated with the following: Josh Hayes of Tuscaloosa; Greg Foster of Birmingham; Marion Mayor Dexter Hinton; Lowndes County Administrator Jackie Thomas; Robert Turner of Perry County; State School Board member Ella Bell; Sharon Wheeler of Montgomery on her birthday; and Elouise Robinson of Bay Minette about sickness in the family.

            EPILOGUE – When the past is properly connected to the present and the present is properly connected to the future, a special power is unleashed.  This power lifts the past, enhances the present and builds the future.