Halbert Eyes Consolidation Warily, Cites Desegregation as Precedent

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Councilwoman Wanda Halbert
  • Councilwoman Wanda Halbert
Developing pposition to consolidation among African-American Democrats in the inner city has focused on a sense that the political influence of blacks would be weakened overall by the absorption of Memphis city government by an enlarged Metro government representing all of Shelby County.

Resistance in the inner city to the forthcoming November 2 referendum on a new Metro charter has even prompted some black leaders to rethink the assumptions that, several generations back, underlay the impetus toward racial integration.

In a posting on her Facebook page, city council member Wanda Halbert recently interjected a thought along these lines into a discussion of the consolidation issue. She was responding to a dialogue partner who had said black leaders espousing the Metro charter “have no idea that they are selling their people out and placing us in a position of diluted voting strength.”

Halbert disagreed: “I say, yes they do, just as they did with their support of the civil rights movement. These people were/are leaders in their respective communities. Doctors, lawyers, judges, etc. They are not ignorant, uneducated, low income, don't care, don't know people.

“Though I did not live during that day, I was surprised to discover, as well intended as it appeared to be, desegregation was the beginning of the destruction of black life as it was once known. Many thought it would bring about equality for all but it simply was the destruction of togetherness, purpose, passion, family, quality education, pride, etc.

“It is commonly known, government and the power structure put together 10, 15, 20+ year plans for the future. I refuse to believe it was not known where desegregation would lead many…”

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