Election night 2008 had people celebrating in the streets. The desire for change had swept the GOP from the White House and Congress. The effects of Obama's victory over the Old White Guy reached into the Deep South and this week the town of Alligator, Alabama ousted its white mayor in favor of a black leader.
37 votes for Tommie "Tomaso" Brown versus 27 for Robert Fave, whose family controlled all aspects of the smal town's economy. long.
A landslide for the challenger put Alligator on the map for the first time in recorded history. The Mississippi Delta town has had little to cheer about over the 20th Century as its population shrank from 1000 to 200 and the new mayor's supporters taunted the loser by running into Fava's general store and shouting, "Kiss my black ass."
30 years ago Tommie "Tomaso" Brown would have been strung up in a tree for such uppityism.
Several citizens expressed reservations about the new mayor.
“He says there’s going to be lots of changes and everything with all these kids running around here. But he do the same thing they do, drinking beer and stuff. You’ve got to stay at home and study the town. Alligator is the kind of place where if you leave your door open, when you come back there ain’t nothing in your house."
For a town of 200 that sounds like chaos, however the ex-mayor admitted that Alligator was a quiet town.
"There’s only been one murder in all the time I’ve been here. About five years ago, there was a white lady coming in with a black guy and they got into it and he shot her and tried to burn the body up. They got him and he’s doing time in the penitentiary.”
Huntsville Prison has certainly more populous than Alligator, but I doubt the 'change' will penetrate the penal system to have a black warden at the institution.
Some things stay the same more than they change.
Postcard is from Quincy Florida 1909.
White people get real stupid around alligators.