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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Selma's Vermont Legacy?

Selma3i_1 It's the 42nd anniversary of the 1965 battle, excuse me, police riot at the overpass in Selma, Alabama. That was back in the days when in much of the United States, African-Americans did not enjoy the same rights as whites when it came to housing, education, employment, voting rights and much, much more.

1965 was also the year this 15-year-old participated in his first civil-rights march, a march for open-housing in Ossining, New York. Most of the marchers were black. I still remember the dirty looks from whites along the curb.

And on this anniversary of Selma, Democratic presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were in Selma holding competing political rallies at nearby churches, each trying to position themselves as the premier heir to the legacy of Selma. As Hillary noted, it was against the law back then for women to serve on juries in Alabama. Now, 42 years later, a woman and a black man are the frontrunners for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

Don't you wish the election was this November?

Hooper_2 Yours truly did a Montpeculiar run around midday and Vermont's state capital was particularly dead. Went for a good stroll around town - and, yes, I'm feeling real good the last few days as the Freyne frame adapts to the wonderful world of chemotherapy. Came around the back of Montpelier City Hall and there was a surprise: Reporter Andy Potter and Videographer Scott Waterman from WCAX-TV  doing an interview with Montpelier Mayor Mary Hooper.  It was for a Town Meeting Day preview story Andy was doing for the evening news.

Incidentally, is there any way Mary the Mayor cannot become Vermont's newest legislator?

R4brooks_1 Surely, Hooper's will be one of three names the Montpelier Democratic Committee will select this week and forward to Republican Gov. Jim Douglas as recommended picks for the Montpelier House seat being vacated by Rep. Francis Brooks. Ol' Francis, a state rep from Montpeculiar since the 1980s,  is the brand new Statehouse Sergeant at Arms, a full-time, year-round gig for Brooksie, an African-American who replaces Kerm Spaulding of Stowe.

In fact, we'd bet the name "Mary Hooper" tops the bloody list!

Of course, Gov. Scissorhands can pick anyone from the district and you might think it likely Jimbo would pick a member of his own Republican Party.

But what's in it for him?

Mayor_hooper_2 Adding one more member to the 49-member GOP Caucus in the 150-member House is not going to make much of a difference.

Besides, Gov. Douglas can seize the opportunity to look both bipartisan and pro-woman by tapping Hooper.

Don't worry, Mary, Jim Douglas is not that stupid.

Is he?


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Kitchen Talker

Brings back memories. There were half a dozen free buses lined up in Park Square, Boston, headed for Selma -- and thousands of us standing in line, hoping for a seat. I didn't make it, but I later discovered that my godmother was one of the marchers. She's 90 now, and I visited her at her little convent in southern New Mexico last fall. She shared memories of the march and demonstrated how she was taught to cover her skull with her hands to protect against police clubs.

(The second part of this item also brings back memories. Remember the radio team of Peter & Potter -- or was it Potter & Peter?)

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