Dear Ms. Ivey:
The year 1967 is not that far removed from the consciousness of many Americans. Many in your age group were graduating college to join the working world and ostensibly knew right from wrong, hate from love, work from play, day from night and the real reason why any person would engage in blackface.
It is with sadness that your name has to be added to the “Alabama Wall of Shame” that reflects the shameful, vicious, mean-spirited and racist history of the State of Alabama. Your participation in some of the ugliest behavior of human beings (engaging in blackface) would have remained buried had not someone uncovered it and revealed it for all the world to see. From what we see, your involvement was sincere, deep and unforgettable.
Your heart has residuals of thoughts and feelings that you had in 1967 that permitted you to engage freely in blackface and a radio show where that participation was extolled. Who should believe that you represent all of the people of the State of Alabama? How can you successfully convince businesses to locate in a state that has leadership that harbors dark secrets of racist behavior that creeps through in its governance? Many corporations do not want to headquarter in a state that is rife with bigotry, lack of progress and a backwards mind set. To date you have done little, if anything, to cause anyone to believe that you have had a change of mind, or a change of heart. You have in fact, strongly supported the continued presence of statutes and memorials that fueled your portrayal of the horrendous blackface mocking captured on film in 1967.
Public employment is not an entitlement. You surely have had your opportunity over many years to display a change of heart and behavior before the revelation of your dastardly deed. The Gadsden Chapter of the NAACP joins organizations in the request that you step down as governor for the good of the entire Alabama population. Alabama’s sad history has resonated enough over the years across the world. We all deserve better.
Elaine Harris Spearman, Esq.
President, Etowah County (Gadsden) Branch, NAACP