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.

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.

Most people should be familiar with the old phrase "Ace In The Hole". It refers to something very special only to be used when things are not going as planned or at the most appropriate time and place to insure success.

In football, a coach may have his team practice a certain play only to use that play once in a game or an entire season. Then again he might not use that play if he does not have to. That play becomes his insurance in case things do not go as planned and his team is in trouble. That play thus becomes that team's "Ace In The Hole".

Originally posted in New American Journal on May 13th

MOBILE, Ala. – Thoroughbreds charging around the final turn and down the homestretch. Blinders strapped on the sides of their faces to keep their attention on the finish line straight ahead. Preakness Stakes at Pimlico racetrack in Baltimore. Second leg of the Triple Crown later this week.

Image:  Horse and Human Blinders, by Walter Simon

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.

"Son, don't let nobody take your watermelon", was a phrase my  grandfather used often when I was a kid, referring to something you had of value that others wanted. Sometimes others will try to devalue what you have in an effort to make what they have seem better. Their efforts to make what you have meaningless could be a by-product of envy, greed, jealously or spite.

Industry along Mobile's riverfront.  Photo by Karen Savage, flight by Tom Hutchings


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