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Membership Luncheon at the Kahala Hilton Hotel
From the State President
Letter from Alabama
Local Agenda
Know Your City Planning
Oahu Transportation Study Citizen's Advisory Committee
Voter Service
State Fair
Human Resources

Letter from Alabama

Have you wondered what the Alabama League has been doing during this time of focus on voting rights and procedures in Alabama? Mrs. Atherton Hastings, State President in Alabama, has written a three page letter to Mrs. Stuart, National President, and we have received a copy of it.

To begin with, she said that while "voters' rights is the ostensible, overt reason for the massive demonstrations...other basic issues are involved." A few years ago, the Alabama League was authorized to speak concerning 'law and order', which they did. However, they were not satisfied at "being unable to act in a more specific way", and in 1962 adopted a Program item on 'Education in Alabama'. This enabled them to "make a strong statement in regard to 'keeping the schools open'" when a high school was closed and a private school opened in Talladega. They put out many publications including one called 'Why Close Schools'. No more schools in Alabama were closed. In 1964 they added to their study "a clause authorizing a study of the methods for selecting and distributing textbooks." In January, 1965, they were able to announce four support positions. In February a special session of the State Legislature was called for the purpose of passing legislation pertaining to education.

Then came the demonstrations in Selma. As a League they "sat tight", but their Legislative Committee was busy. They missed not one session, gave testimony at a hearing, talked to Legislators - often passing through and around picket lines and demonstrators.

Two provisions (of the Textbook Bill) which the League supported, passed.

One provision which they opposed, was thrown out, and one which they could support, substituted.

One provision which they "unalterably opposed", was thrown out entirely.

The League is ready, too, with support positions on state finance and taxation.

BUT - what of the voting laws? Cases were already in court with the State named as defendant, and the League was not prepared to "enter Court cases as amicus curiae." Also, they "felt that Federal legislation was imminent." On March 13, they decided

  1. they "would publicly support a thorough study of Alabama's election laws..."

  2. they would ask some of their legislators to "consider introducing a resolution, at least, calling for this study."

On March 16, a bill was introduced calling for, among other things, complete abolition of the poll-tax, more registration days, and fair qualification requirements. At the time the letter was written (March 20) this bill was on the calendar.

"....what we have learned here in Alabama, I feel, is that the League should walk steadily ahead along its road of Program, accomplishing to the best of its ability, in the way the League works, those goals it has set for itself, knowing all the while that for each goal accomplished, there is another further along the road. This way does not make a loud noise, does not often engage the headline attention of the press, merit half the news commentators' time on television and radio. Nevertheless, it does get attention. It can and it does achieve much. This way of working has a definite role to play in civic and even social readjustment as a real relationship exists between these."

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