Joe Womack's blog

In May, Africatown native and resident Ruth Washington, Africatown native & supporter Major Joe Womack and Africatown supporter & Mobile Environmental Justice Action Coalition President Ramsey Sprague traveled to Washington, D.C. to talk with politicians and various department members -  including the Congressional Black Caucus - about Africatown's current environmental justice situation and to support the world's 2016 Break Free (from fossil fuel) theme to "Keep It In The Ground".  

The Africatown community and other residents within the boundary of Mobile's District 2 received what amounts to "a public lashing" a few weeks ago as the city council voted by a count of 6 to 1 to approve an ordinance that will allow more storage tanks to be constructed within city limits. This ordinance was not wanted, asked for and did not deserve to be dumped on the citizens of Mobile.

The "okey-doke, as defined by Urban Dictionary and Africatown folklore means to pull the wool over your opposition's eyes, to outsmart your opposition, to say one thing and mean another or to gain the upper hand by using trickery. President George W. Bush once famously said,"Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me."

Of the 65 plus years I have spent on this earth, nearly 60 of those years I have been a resident of the Africatown Community and The City Of Mobile. I spent 4 years away in Virginia earning a Business Degree in College and 2 years of active Military Service in The Marine Corps. I am probability one of the few Africatown natives in Mobile that can successfully name all 4 swimming holes within the Africatown community utilized by Africatown residents during the 1950's and 1960's.

Community Blight can normally be cleared up in two ways: by restoring the structure considered as blight or by tearing it down. Typically, it is easier and cheaper to tear something down than to repair it.

The Africatown Community is different than most African - American Communities because about 50 percent of the community has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and should be protected and restored at all costs.

(Photo: Oberlin College students at Baheth R & D Laboratories Ltd)

On October 18, 2015, two vans carrying students, teachers and their supplies arrived in Mobile from Oberlin College in Cleveland, Ohio, to learn more about Africatown and assist ongoing efforts to help revive the community.

This was their second trip to Africatown in the past year, which indicate how serious the students, teachers and their school are about how they feel about Africatown and how much they want to see something positive happen for its residents.

When the last shipment of slaves landed in America in 1860, they originally stayed in a camp along the Mobile River inhabited by a group of slaves known as the Moors. That co-habitation did not go well and they eventually moved inland and formed the township of Plateau. They begin buying up land, building schools and churches and expanding the community to about 2,000 acres or about five square miles. Eventually, other former slaves heard about this sanctuary and began moving to Africatown.

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