‘Still a city of slaves’ – Selma, in the words of those who live there – The Guardian

‘Still a city of slaves’ – Selma, in the words of those who live there – The Guardian

selma-1A beacon for the civil rights movement 50 years ago, the Alabama city’s largely African American population today struggles with joblessness, poverty and drugs

Ten figures clambered over piles of rubble from the old cotton warehouse, picking up bricks. It was a cold day for Selma, Alabama, close to freezing, and as the sun disappeared they gathered to warm their hands over makeshift fires. For 10 hours they removed bricks from piles mixed with wood and metal, chipping each recovered brick free of mortar, and then stacked them. The bricks were handmade in the 1870s, and a foreman was paying them between $10 and $20 in cash for a pile of 500.

It was hard work. A pile took about half the day to gather, and most quit from fatigue after one go. An older man watched them: “Everyone heard about this job, but few want to do it, because it pays nothing, and lots of people been hurt doing it. But there are no jobs here in Selma. Especially if you got a record, and almost everyone in Selma has a record.” Nobody knew who owned the old warehouse, although most reckoned it was a white man: “They own everything around here.”  

A brick buyer from a construction firm came to look at the pile. “Handmade bricks, especially historical ones like this, are in demand. They often sell for over a dollar per brick.”

Read more  – http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/04/still-a-city-of-slaves-selma-in-the-words-who-those-who-live-there

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