Culture and Traditions

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).

Last Friday, May 23rd, Louie Miller of the Mississippi Chapter of the Sierra Club emailed a number of friends and colleagues: "Sharing the tragic news that Linda St. Martin passed away at 9:30 this morning from complications due to chemotherapy. I would appreciate everyone taking a moment to reflect on Linda in honor of her body of work, passion, and commitment in service to the Sierra Club and the Gulf Community as a whole."

“The world must know what they [BP] have done to this community. This place could have been a paradise.” Those are the words of Byron Encalade, president of Louisiana Oystermen’s Association and the face of a beautiful and devastating new documentary film, Vanishing Pearls.

I caught up with Kimberly McCuiston, David Underhill, Patricia Hall and Michele Walker-Harmon of the Mobile Environmental Justice Action Coalition (MEJAC) during the regional Gulf Gathering, which was held in Fairhope, Alabama, April 13th through 15th.

According to their Facebook page, “MEJAC is a coalition of Mobile Bay residents and groups confronting new and longstanding environmental justice issues to cease toxic industrial pollution.”

On March 30, 2014, journalist Brentin Mock moderated a discussion about Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek with Leslie Fields (Sierra Club director of Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships), Reilly Morse (director of Mississippi Center for Justice), Derrick Evans (of Turkey Creek, Mississippi and co-founder of Bridge The Gulf) and me, Leah Mahan, (Director and Producer of Come Hell or High Water, and co-founder of Bridge The Gulf). The discussion followed the D.C.

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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