Tornado destroys homes, churches, trailers and other structures in West Alabama

Pictured above is Christian Valley Baptist Church in Tishabee. Below is Mt.Pilgrim Baptist Church, located right across the road from Mt. Pilgrim. Both churches were destroyed by the tornado that hit the Southern area of Greene County last Wednesday. Many homes and other structures were destroyed in that area as well as in the Mantua/Snoddy communities.

Late Wednesday afternoon on April 27, a tornado roared through West Alabama and East Mississippi, destroying everything it touched. The tornado funnel was more than a mile wide at some points, and is said to have contained several smaller funnels.
The amount of damage done has not been estimated, but at least four churches in Greene County were destroyed and many homes and trailers either totally lost or seriously damaged throughout West Alabama. At least four lives were lost in Sawyerville, Hale County.
In the aftermath of this almost unbelievable damage, community, state and federal organizations rallied to help the residents pick up the pieces.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has designated over 30 counties, including Greene, Sumter, Marengo, Hale, and Tuscaloosa as disaster areas.
You may apply for assistance by calling FEMA’s toll-free registration number – 800-621-FEMA between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time. Hearing and speech impaired persons can use the TTY number 800-462-7585 or e-mail
The Federation of Southern Cooperatives in Epes, AL has reactivated the Federation Rural Training and Research Center (FSC), near Epes, Alabama, as a staging and supply storage area for assistance, i.e., food, water, clothing, equipment, supplies, to surrounding rural communities, impacted by the storms.
The FSC is making its dormitory (with 60 bunk beds) and kitchen available for people coming from outside the area to work on relief and recovery efforts in Tuscaloosa and surrounding areas. The Center is located 50 miles south of Tuscaloosa and provides easy access to these areas, without imposing on people in the direct impact area.
The Federation needs the support and assistance of its members, partners and friends in making this tornado response meaningful, sensitive and successful. You may contact us and donate funds and other materials designated for disaster relief through our website at
“We will be concentrating our direct emergency assistance to families in small rural communities in the Alabama Black Belt counties surrounding Tuscaloosa,” said Program Director John Zippert.
You can directly contact the Federation Rural Training and Research Center, 575 Federation Road (P. O. Box 95) in Epes, Alabama 35460; or by calling 205/652-9676 or e-mail at or Ask for John Zippert, Director; Debra Eatman, Logistics Coordinator; Ms. Pam Madzima, Co-op Development Program; and Osa Idehen, Outreach Coordinator.
So far, the Federation has received communications from citizens in Sumter, Greene, Hale, Pickens, Choctaw, Monroe and Marengo counties and is still contacting other people.
Community Aid Center Open
A community program in Eutaw activated during the Katrina disaster is now open to help tornado victims.
Located at 114 Tuscaloosa Street across from the Greene County Courthouse in Eutaw, the Community Aid Center is collecting donated items to be distributed to those in need.
Volunteers run the center which has remained open at least part time since the group of concerned citizens founded it when so many refugees from Hurricane Katrina came through Greene County.Items needed include, but are not limited to, canned goods, toiletry items, paper towels, male and female undergarments in all sizes, laundry items, and other nonperishable items.
The center will be open from 9 a.m. until Noon and from 4-6 p.m. in the afternoon Monday through Friday. For more information, contact Linda Spencer at 205-496-0373, Pastor Joe Webb or Mrs. Gwen Webb at 205-499-1961.
Your support will be greatly appreciated.
Area churches are also collecting and distributing nonperishables and other items.


Federation’s 43rd annual meeting features Shirley Sherrod, Ben Jealous and Alice Walker in people’s celebration


Pictured L-R are Shirley Sherrod, Ben Jealous and FSC Executive Director Ralph Paige.


The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund celebrated its 43rd Annual Meeting this past weekend in Birmingham and at the organization’s Rural Training and Research Center at Epes, Alabama.

 On Saturday, August 21, Shirley Sherrod, a former Federation staff member and recently dismissed Georgia State Director of USDA Rural Development and Ben Jealous, Executive Director of the NAACP, spoke publicly together for the first time about the incident of Ms. Sherrod’s dismissal in mid-July based on a distorted video tape of her speech to an NAACP group in Georgia.

The tape was edited by Andrew Brietbart, a right-wing ideologue, to suggest that Ms. Sherrod was withholding services from a white farmer. When the entire video is viewed in context it is clear that Ms. Sherrod is speaking of her transformation and overcoming prejudice by helping to save the white farmer’s farm despite her own negative life experiences with whites. Read more of this post