Selma, AL City Council President Pro Tem Cecil Williamson accused of being white supremacist and secessionist

Cecil Williamson speaking at the Birthday Celebration/Rally in Selma honoring KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest.

 

By  Connie Tucker

 At its August 24, 2010 meeting, the Selma City Council voted down a resolution that called for a vote of no confidence of the Council’s President Pro-tem, Cecil Williamson. The resolution charged Williamson with being a racist. Williamson co-commissioned a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest and co-founded the Friends of Forrest, a Confederate organization, with Patricia Godwin, a known Selma White Supremacist. 

Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate General and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.  Forrest is also infamous for a massacre of Black “Colored” Union troops and was one of the biggest slave traders in the South.

 Only two Black Council members voted for the resolution, Sam Randolph who proposed the resolution and Bennie Ruth Crenshaw.  Three black council members voted against the resolution including Angela Benjamin, Corey Bowie and B.L. Tucker, and two White Council members, Susan Keith and Monica Newton.

The Randolph resolution is one of several attempts to get the Selma City Council to unseat Cecil Williamson as President Pro-tem.  The effort was started by Attorney Faya Rose Toure’, a local activist, when she presented pictures of Williamson presiding at a Nathan B. Forrest Birthday celebration July 10, 2010.  Among the pictures from the birthday celebration were racist caricatures of a Black child eating watermelon.  They were posted where they served watermelon.

Williamson refused when Toure’ asked him to disavow the League of the South, an organization he was affiliated with as late at 2005.  The League was deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Following the release of the pictures, irrefutable evidence was provided to the Selma City Council that the Friends of Forrest at the same birthday celebration sold racist, false and slanderous literature they call “Truth Uncensored” to raise funds for the Bedford monument.   It is a collection of mostly 1965 re-printed booklets that were published by suspected Ku Klux Klan members. 

“Sex and the Civil Rights Movement – The True Selma Story” falsely alleges the Selma to Montgomery marchers for voting rights engaged in sexual mis-conduct and drunkenness, calling the march, “the mother of all orgies.”  “Nightriders: The Truth Surrounding Viola Liuzzo’s Killing” viciously attacks Viola Liuzzo who was killed in Lowndes County on Highway 80 transporting marchers during the Selma to Montgomery march, and an eight-page letter blames the Movement for the murder of Rev. James Reeb.  

“Truth Uncensored” also contains a copy of an address by then Alabama Congressman Dickinson to the 89th Congress.  The address repeats the charges made in booklet, “Sex and the Civil Rights Movement…”.   Jet Magazine in its May 13, 1965 edition, called Alabama Congressman Dickinson’s allegations “a blatant lie” and refuted other outrageous allegations with quotes denying the charges from clergy and nuns who were on the march.

According to the Jet Magazine article, the Birmingham News said the allegations could not be substantiated.  “To this day, no picture and no report of any such alleged illicit acts on the march has come from any of the many newsmen accompanying the march,” the article said.

Photo of racist caricature of Black child eating watermelon at Forrest birthday party.

“It’s as if they haven’t taken the time to read the evidence,” said Rev. Franklin Fortier, Head of the Selma Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, referring to the members of the Selma City Council.  That may be the case as Councilman Tucker in his statement against the no confidence vote said, “…we should forget the past.”

Fortier is leading a protest effort against the Selma Times Journal.  He said, “Even though the Selma Times Journal was given evidence that contradicted statements made by Cecil Williamson, they failed to question him about the contradictions.  The Selma newspaper and the Selma City Council did not question the fact that racist literature is sold year after year at the Forrest Birthday party and other Confederate events by members of the Friends of Forrest to raise money for the Forrest monument, nor did anyone insist that he answer Faya Rose Toure’ when she asked Williamson whether he supports succession.”  “This is an outrage against this Country and against those who suffered and died for our right to vote,” he said. 

Patricia Godwin herself substantiated that the Friends of Forrest sells the “Truth Uncensored” at the “Forrest party,” Secession Day/Constitution Mini Seminar held annually in Montgomery, Al, and at other Confederate activities such as Civil War reenactments.  The Internet advertisement of “The Truth Uncensored” states, “We have had 1,000 sets printed and packaged. After recouping our initial investment, the balance will be donated to the Nathan Bedford Forrest Memorial Park Fund to buy private land and develop a Confederate Memorial park here in Selma.”

You may express your outrage to the Selma City Council by emailing council secretary@selma-al.gov.  Please copy your email to outrageselma@yahoo.com so that they can track your responses.

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