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Old 04-20-2012, 10:27 AM
Location: Mississippi Delta!
469 posts, read 679,724 times
Reputation: 268


Originally Posted by ashpelham View Post
I'd like to throw a little nugget in there...Being from North Alabama, the perspective of South Alabama was always that it was poor and behind the rest of the world. Now that I live in Birmingham metro but spend all of my time from Montgomery-South, I can attest that it's still largely poor and uneducated. From Southern Cal to Southern Al is going to be a BIIIIIGGGGGG leap in another direction. If what you want is a link to the past, all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly, then by all means, move to Selma. If what you want is a life that is moving forward, with good income prospects, good quality of life, then avoid. South Alabama as a whole lacks infrastructure, motivation for higher education, and job/income prospects.

I see no reason at all to live in South Alabama. It surprises me that it's not completely empty of people until one arrives at or near the Mobile metro.
What is the dividing line between North and South Alabama - a river, railroad, highway, something else?
BTW, Montgomery has a Hyundai factory, so that should count for something in South Alabama, assuming Montgomery is part of it.

God bless.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:29 AM
Location: Mississippi Delta!
469 posts, read 679,724 times
Reputation: 268
Originally Posted by Threestep View Post
Starbucks made it to Prattville:>) There I try to be diplomatic ...
What's so great about having an outlet for a company that sells overpriced coffee?

God bless,

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Old 04-20-2012, 01:24 PM
Location: Albuquerque, NM
1,523 posts, read 2,919,085 times
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Originally Posted by Chris Balducci View Post
What is the dividing line between North and South Alabama - a river, railroad, highway, something else?
BTW, Montgomery has a Hyundai factory, so that should count for something in South Alabama, assuming Montgomery is part of it.

God bless.
I don't think there is a bright line of any kind. I would actually divide it in fifths. Huntsville - Shoals in the top, Birmingham in the second, Montgomery in the third, Dothan/wiregrass in the fourth and Mobile in the fifth. Each city has sort of a zone of influence around it. I suppose the Black Belt should also be its own zone, even though it lacks a population center. Because it isn't like anything else but itself.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:59 PM
1,643 posts, read 2,748,328 times
Reputation: 907
Originally Posted by Chris Balducci View Post
What's so great about having an outlet for a company that sells overpriced coffee?
It's a benchmark.

Once you get your stoplight, then you get your Hardee's. Domino's. The chains start to move in. Starbucks ranks even higher than getting BOTH a Lowe's and Home Depot, around the same rank as a Zaxby's perhaps.

But you're not a real city until all the stuff that was thriving 20 years ago is closed, leaving empty shopping areas with only title pawns and mattress stores.

Starbucks isn't bad if you don't mind paying too much. I never get it unless I'm out of town and can't stand another cup of brown stump water from a fast food joint or gas station.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:57 PM
Location: Greenville, AL
9 posts, read 57,042 times
Reputation: 16
I live close to Selma-born and raised here-this is NOT a place anyone should want to move to. Most have been here their entire lives, deep family roots, my family as well. Lots of "old money".That's not always a good thing, trust me. It's hot and HUMID here, Dallas county roads are bad, crime is bad for it to be no bigger than it is, I can go on and on. The only thing good about Selma is its rich history, but I think people who arent from here are more interested in it than the locals. Birmingham seems like it might be better for you to look into.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:34 PM
491 posts, read 380,312 times
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I grew up in Selma and still have family that lives and works there so I can offer some perspective on the city. Selma is a strange and unique city. On the one hand, it is considered a poor area in one of the poorest regions (Black Belt) in the country. On the other hand, there is quite a bit of old money and a suprisingly large percentage of the city that earns well above the national average. It is also amazing the amount of influence Selma has within the state for a city its size. I'm always amazed at how often I run into completely random people that know someone I know from Selma. It seems like everyone within 4 hours of the place knows someone from there.

Selma use to be a thriving city (relatively speaking) that was much larger than it currently is as it has been bleeding population for the last 35 years. The turning point was the Civil Rights movement. The downward trend started then but the death nail was the closing of Craig Air Force base in the late 70s. The city slowly faded in the 2 decades after that and the city has really started to lose residents in the last 10 or 15 years. As for the Selma CC, I grew up playing golf there and don't recall any major issues occurring. The club (like many in America unfortunately) is almost totally white. There is an Asian member and a quite a few members who are Jewish. The city's racial past speaks for itself although I think people of both races live and work together much more harmoniously than the vast majority of America does. I dare say no city in America has had to face those problems more head on than Selma.

As for moving to Selma, the biggest problem isn't how you'll be treated as much as it is the lack of any real economic opportunity in the area. The area was really screwed over when the interstate system failed to directly connect the Mississippi and Alabama capital cities which left a big economic wasteland known as the Black Belt area. The economic base use to be respectable but has really faded badly in the last 20 years. There's a part of me that will always love the area and it does have an unexplainable charm but unfortunately the good is outweighed by the bad. The city has just lost too much momentum over the last couple of decades. Unless you like to hunt (I only do a little deer hunting and that's it and the area around Selma is renowned for having fantastic hunting) then there is nothing so unique about Selma that you can't find in other nearby better options. In short, the city can be painfully boring especially if you don't know people there already.
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:57 PM
1 posts, read 4,190 times
Reputation: 23
Default The truth about Selma, Alabama

First of all we would love for you to move to Selma. We need people like you here. I have lived in Selma more than 10 years and have lived in Alabama about 16 years. I have lived all over the Southeast and also in Europe. I lived for three years in a Birmingham suburb called Mountain Brook which locals consider to be the more exclusive part of town. Having owned a home in the high rent area of Alabama's largest city and now living in Selma, perhaps I am somewhat qualified to give you the "real deal".

Coming from California and Maryland, most places in Alabama are going to be culture shock. Birmingham has many of the problems of larger cities without many of the benefits. There are a lot of chain restaurants and shopping. You won't find the quality of dining, museums, culture etc. that you have in Baltimore or D.C. When I lived in Birmingham it was consistently ranked in the top ten most dangerous cities in America. I think it currently has the dubious distinction of being the largest city in America to file for bankruptcy. It is racially divided like many U.S. cities with urban decay and minorities predominating in the city center surrounded by White suburbs. All of Alabama's larger cities Huntsville, Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery have crime indexes significantly higher than the national average. Huntsville is unique and worth a look because of its NASA connection but it is a little far from your family.

The truth about Selma is that White and Black people live and work in close proximity and associate with each other to a greater extent than anywhere else I have ever lived. The idea of past racism in Selma and the White "bogyman" is important to a racial narrative still spun by an aging group of Black race panderers who make their living by keeping it alive both locally and nationally. These people seem to be diminishing in importance every year, particularly with the election of Obama.

However, that being said, Selma is loosing its diversity because it is hemorrhaging White people. In the early 1990's there were a series of events involving the city schools. I was not here then so I cannot comment on what happened. The end result is that almost overnight all of the White children left the city high school. Once the White children no longer effectively had access to the city school system, the diaspora began. In the 1990 census, Selma was about 44% White with approximately 9500 Whites. By the 2010 census, 70% of the Whites had left with only 3700 remaining and not enough White children living in the city limits to have any hope of a meaningfully integrated city school system. Around the year 2000, much publicity surrounded the election of Selma's first Black mayor. With shifting demographics, most Whites realized that in actuality Selma had seen its last White mayor ever. Feeling politically alienated, another wave of White migration ensued.

If by "progressive people" living here you mean Left leaning liberals favoring increasing amounts of government entitlements and subsidy then you are correct. If you mean progressive in terms of avant garde, then those people are few and far between.

So the real deal is that Selma is a poor Southern town with a fantastic history and the largest historic district full of affordable antique homes in the state. Some are national treasures. You will have to look hard to find the racism you might expect, if for no other reason than there are so few Whites left and many are transplants or weren't alive during segregation. Selma does have a very high rate of crime which is statistically consistent with its demographics. Within your lifetime it will become about 95% African American. It would likely take a large external intervention such as a military instillation, the discovery of oil etc. to reverse its current downward economic course. It is not far from many fun cities. Atlanta, Ga - 3 hours; The ocean (Pensacola, FL) 2:45; Nashville, TN - 4 hours; New Orleans, LA 4 1/2 hours. These make for great weekend trips. I stay here because I love antique homes and enjoy helping the underprivileged. It is like Manhattan compared to Gee's Bend. Hope this helps.
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Old 07-01-2012, 04:44 PM
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I don't currently live in Selma, but was born and raised there and still go back to visit several times per year. For one, very few people move to Selma unless they are associated with one of the larger manufacturing plants in the area. Most are born and raised there. As to the traffic to Montgomery, few people in Selma commute to Montgomery. Most people with jobs in Dallas County are either business owners, farmers or commute INTO Selma to work. The majority collect a check from the government, though. Sad, but true.

As to black kids in the private schools......black kids were admitted to the private school in question way back in the 1980's. A new black doctor in town decided to enroll his kids there and they were admitted. However, he got so much flack and threats from his patients in the black community that he pulled his kids out and sent them to a mixed-race private school in Montgomery. So, this isn't a matter of white supremacy keeping the poor little black kids out of the elite private school as many would like you to believe.

Crime is high in Selma, but most is drug/gang-related and is mostly black on black crime. Still, drive-by bullets don't discriminate. Yes, the section of Church St. that you likely drove down is bad. Google Church Street Mafia. This section runs about 2, maybe 3 blocks deep and only one block wide. Driving into it is like stepping into a different world. But, it is not the worst part of town.

Places not to go? Pretty much anywhere east of Broad (except the retail area on Hwy 80/14) and anywhere over the river. After dark - pretty much anywhere outside.

The country club was all-white when I lived there and probably still is. Blacks are allowed in to work functions, but only as help, not as guests. The country club set is another sub-set within the white population of Selma. Most whites in town are not a member. Unless you are a doctor, lawyer, or upper management in one of the major businesses in town, you aren't allowed in. The Elks Lodge is where you'll have to join if you can't get into the country club.

Selma is an interesting and unique place. But, honestly, I don't think you'd like it there and the chances of ever truly being accepted will be hard and will take years - 20 or more. Yes, they love tourists and they love anybody looking to come to the area to live, particularly if they arrive with a fat wallet. But, they do NOT like people coming in from the outside and trying to make any changes. And, they particularly do not like people from the outside coming in with an "I'm smarter than you and know better than you and can turn this dump around" attitude. Not saying this is the attitude you would have, but it is common with people that come into the area, particularly from areas outside of the southeast. Someone from MS moving to Selma would be a lot more accepted than someone from out west or north of the Mason-Dixon. Since you come from an established family in the area, you may be accepted easier than someone with no connections. But, it will still be very hard.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:31 AM
1 posts, read 3,638 times
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Selma is a nice place and in need of people such as you to grow and become a model city--there many good people to work with. Your skills and profile is just what is needed, particularly in education!!!
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:35 PM
1 posts, read 3,255 times
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A city is what you make it. I was raised in Selma, Alabama and like many others in my humble opinion, we should be proud of where we come from. Instead, we choose to wander all over the world searching for what really exists within us, hoping to find fulfillment outside of us. Although God created the world first, He had his creation in mind. The place He alone has prepared for us to temporarily dwell in. Just as how we were created is important, so is the where we choose to live out this creation of a being. I have visited cities such as Atlanta, New Orleans, Detroit, and South Carolina to name a few, and I found that they all had this in common. They love their cities. Instead of looking for positive values, many choose to look at the negative without ever exploring the possibilities of opportunities in the negativity. Many of these sayings may very well be true, but you who are from Selma, Alabama; what are you doing to make the difference in your city? One thing is for sure about Selma, you will always be welcomed by the warm greetings from many Alabamians. Traveler, God bless you and may you be lead by His Spirit alone! (For believers)

Kingdom Builder
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