BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Blacks who celebrate the civil rights movement and whites who commemorate the Civil War are suddenly finding themselves on the same side in historic Selma, Alabama: against City Hall.
Both groups say the city is squeezing them with demands for thousands of dollars in up-front payments to stage annual events that bring tens of thousands of visitors to an otherwise sleepy community.
Plans for next month’s Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee commemorating the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march of 1965 are up in the air over the city’s demand.
And the re-enactment of the 1865 Battle of Selma has been canceled because organizers couldn’t afford the tab.
First-term Mayor Darrio Melton says the city has streets that are caving and can’t afford to provide services for private events.