Joe Womack's blog

The Plateau section of the Africatown community is often referred to as "Africatown's Bedroom Community.” As the name suggests, the Plateau neighborhood's elevation is higher than any other area of the community. Africatown is surrounded on three sides by water. To the north is Hog Bayou, on the east is the Mobile River and to the south is the Three Mile Creek.

The historical value of Africatown's Hog Bayou was carved in stone long before the Oil Barons of the world discovered Africatown's valuable wetlands. Africatown's Hog Bayou will forever be known as the place in Mobile where the "African" slaves taught the "American" slaves how to feed themselves and their loved ones after slavery had ended. The last recorded shipment of slaves to arrive in America landed aboard the slave ship Clotilde in 1860. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, freeing all slaves.

Back in the 60's I could always tell when election time was near. First, city equipment would show up to clean the streets and clear out vacant lots. Then the politician would make an appearance at the Elks and buy a round of drinks for everyone in the place. The next day he would sponsor a chicken and fish fry for the community. At the height of the community outing he would make a speech. That speech would always promise everything but deliver nothing.

My city of Mobile, Alabama is a charming and picturesque Southern community. With its large antebellum homes and vast array of tall pine trees and massive oak trees overhanging Springhill Avenue, Mobile is a city that can rival any Southern city for beauty and scenery. However, the creative minds of the people of Mobile are one of the unique characteristics that elevate the city of Mobile above other Southern cities.

Photo: Oil and gas pipelines run behind Africatown's historic Mobile County Training School.  Photo credit: Karen Savage

The law will be of no value to you if 1) you do not know the law, 2) you are afraid to use the law, 3) you cannot financially afford the law. Historically, laws are created to protect the innocent and the weak or safeguard the greedy.

To commemorate the 155th anniversary of the beginning of the Africatown saga and the 154th anniversary of the landing of the last recorded shipment of slaves to this country, here is a summary of the "Africatown Story" from 1859 to today. (As told to me by Mr. Henry Williams as he taught Sunday School at Yorktown Baptist Church).

Locally here in Mobile, Alabama, it is rumored that things are being put in place that would ensure that by year 2025, Mobile County would be industrialized with "Oil-Based" industries while Baldwin County will be "Water-Based" with beach resorts, fancy restaurants and hotels and lively entertainment.

A few months ago there was an explosion of train tank cars of crude oil in Canada. One exploding tank car ignited another, then another, then another, etc. Final results were half a town wiped out and dozens of people killed or injured. The blast area of that explosion was estimated to have a 5 mile radius. If you allow a "storage tank city" to be built close to a community, you are asking for trouble.

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