A New Civil Rights Problem in Montgomery (Property Rights Abuse)
What is happening in the cradle of the modern civil rights movement? Jimmy McCall would like to know. 'It was more my dream house,' he laments, 'and the city tore it down ... It reminds me of how they used to mistreat black people in the Old South.' In 1955, Rosa Parks took on the whole system of Jim Crow by refusing to give up her seat on a segregated Montgomery bus. Today, McCall is waging a lonely battle against the same city government for another civil right: the freedom to build a home on his own land.
Though McCall's ambitions are modest, he is exceptionally determined. For years, he has scraped together a living by salvaging rare materials from historic homes and then selling them to private builders. Sometimes months went by before he had a client. Finally, he had put aside enough to purchase two acres in Montgomery and started to build. He did the work himself using materials accumulated in his business including a supply of sturdy and extremely rare longleaf pine.
McCall only earns enough money to build in incremental stages, but eventually his dream home took shape. According to a news story by Benjamin Solomon, the structure had 'the high slanted ceilings, the exposed beams of dark, antique wood. It looks like a charming, spacious home in the making.'
But from the outset, the city showed unremitting hostility. He has almost lost count of the roadblocks it threw up including a citation for keeping the necessary building materials on his own land during the construction process.
comments powered by Disqus
Rick Croley - 4/28/2009
Unfortunately, many cities, towns and counties in Alabama have been moving in this direction for some time. The county board where my father lives passed an ordinance a couple of years ago called "home rule". Under the ordinance, a county inspector can levy fines on properties he deems unsightly. It also provides wide latitude, subject to much abuse, on how the definition of "unsightly" is understood.
One township just south of Birmingham infamously passed codes a few years ago that gave the city council and their minions the ability to dictate the types of window curtains people could hang in their windows. These dictates were backed up with fines.
The sad part of all this is that it has come about because the "people" are often the ones demanding it.
- How the ‘guerrilla archivists’ saved history – and are doing it again under Trump
- Trump visits the National Museum of African American History and Culture
- New Book Says Bob Woodward Burned Hillary Clinton’s Ghostwriter
- For decades they hid Jefferson’s relationship with her. Now Monticello is making room for Sally Hemings.
- In a Walt Whitman Novel, Lost for 165 Years, Clues to ‘Leaves of Grass’
- Historian and Antiwar Activist Marilyn Young Dies at 79
- Trump Chooses Historian H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser
- Holocaust Historian Deborah Lipstadt Explains Why People Believe Trump's Lies
- Princeton’s Harold James warns World War Three is now a "serious threat”
- Israeli schools' history lessons create good soldiers, says pundit