From DC to Alligator

In Uncategorized on September 15, 2009 at 8:56 am

President Obama was largely elected because of the spirited campaign mantra concerning change. This message of change resulted in America electing its first African American President. If you travel down to the Mississippi Delta, tiny Alligator, Mississippi, its 2009 mayoral election was filled with similar rhetoric. Change. Tommie Brown used the spirit of change to become the first African American mayor elected in the rural town. Brown was the first African American to campaign and actively run for the seat, to which he credits President Obama for being “a major influence on everybody. He inspired me…”

Alligator was once a “thriving town whose population swelled to more than 1,000. Its economic backbone was provided by European immigrants, especially Italians, who came to work on the plantations in the Deep South’s fertile Mississippi delta at the start of the 20th Century,” this according to Toby Harnden of the UK’s The Daily Telegraph. Brown faces significant economic challenges. Most of the labor force is employed on farms. But Alligator also has some racial wounds that have yet to be healed. Brown defeated a white, 30 year incumbent, Robert Fava, who also was unopposed in those elections. In the Telegraph’s interview with Brown, Brown alluded to unresolved racial tensions that have severely slowed the progress in the town.

Alligator is a town fighting to save its youth, it’s fighting to provide adequate services, it’s fighting for life. Survival is a word that comes to mind. Addressing the problems the town faces requires collaboration, it requires a commitment to one vision, one mission.


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