5 years ago

Fascinating population maps show how segregated Alabama still is

It’s been a half century since segregation was the law of the land in Alabama, but according to an incredible map illustrating the racial distribution of the U.S., self-segregation is still pervasive in Alabama and around the country.

Using data from the 2010 census, Dustin Cable of the University of Virginia has created the definitive map of racial distribution in America.

Let’s start with the United States and work our way down to the local level.

[Click images to enlarge]

United States

White: blue dots; Black: green dots; Asian: red; Latino: orange; all others: brown
United States

America’s black belt

The faint band of green running through America’s southeast shows the region where plantation agriculture once thrived. Generations later, a concentration of America’s black population still exists in the region.

White: blue dots; Black: green dots; Asian: red; Latino: orange; all others: brown


Whites in Birmingham have historically lived “over the mountain” to the south of the city.

White: blue dots; Black: green dots; Asian: red; Latino: orange; all others: brown


White: blue dots; Black: green dots; Asian: red; Latino: orange; all others: brown


50% of Mobile’s almost 200,000 residents are black, 44% are white. Many of the area’s white residents now live on the other side of Mobile Bay.

White: blue dots; Black: green dots; Asian: red; Latino: orange; all others: brown


Chickasaw Indians traditionally claim to have settled the Huntsville area around 1300. Today only .5% of the city’s population is Native American and their presence is no longer readily visible on the race map. Huntsville’s hispanic population, though, is easily seen clustered together on the city’s south side.

White: blue dots; Black: green dots; Asian: red; Latino: orange; all others: brown


Red patches on Tuscaloosa’s map show the city’s growing Asian community, which includes many residents who came into the country to attend the University of Alabama.

White: blue dots; Black: green dots; Asian: red; Latino: orange; all others: brown


Auburn’s only densely populated areas are right around the Auburn University campus. The majority of the town’s black residents live in Auburn’s northwest quadrant.

White: blue dots; Black: green dots; Asian: red; Latino: orange; all others: brown

Other notable cities

New York City

New York City is known as the nation’s melting pot. But while people from every nation, tribe and tongue come to the Big Apple to make it their home, they tend to segregate themselves in concentrated areas with other people of similar race once they get there.

White: blue dots; Black: green dots; Asian: red; Latino: orange; all others: brown
New York City


Detroit is one of the United States’ most racially segregated cities. 8 Mile Road, seen clearly in the center of the map below, serves as one of the country’s most starkly defined racial divides.

White: blue dots; Black: green dots; Asian: red; Latino: orange; all others: brown

Los Angeles

As you might expect, LA has a massive Hispanic population, making up almost 58% of the city’s population. Only 10% of the city’s population is black, while just under 30% is non-hispanic white.

White: blue dots; Black: green dots; Asian: red; Latino: orange; all others: brown

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.’s demographic makeup is very similar to that of Mobile, AL. The majority of white residents of the D.C. metro area now live in the surrounding suburbs.

White: blue dots; Black: green dots; Asian: red; Latino: orange; all others: brown
Washington DC

Want to see more? Check out the interactive map.

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims


4 mins ago

Alabama Rural Broadband Act on governor’s desk

A bill that would provide grants to aid rural broadband expansion is on Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk.

The legislation was delivered to the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon after the Senate adopted changes to the Alabama Rural Broadband Act previously made in the House.

Originally conceived as a bill that would offer tax incentives to companies to provide high-speed internet services to some of the state’s more remote areas, the bill was changed to offer grants instead. Projects that would provide speeds of 25 megabits per second down and 3 megabits per second up would be eligible for $1.4 million per project, while projects providing minimum speeds of 10/1 could get $750,000 each.


The bill is expected to provide $10 million annually, with the program being administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Private providers and cooperatives would be eligible for the money, but government entities would not.

The sponsor, Sen. Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville), wanted to give providers tax credits for providing broadband rather than cash. The bill still has safeguards in place – the money won’t be received upfront and a legislative committee would monitor the program for effectiveness.

Scofield couldn’t be reached for comment this week.

Ivey is expected to sign the bill after speaking about the need for such programs in her January State of the State speech. The legislation sailed through the Alabama Legislature, receiving unanimous yes votes in the House on Tuesday and in the Senate concurrence vote on Wednesday.

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia), said grants are better for taxpayers.

“It’s more transparent and gives us more accountability,” he said.

In reality, both funding mechanisms have been dismissed by critics. The MacIver Institute said in a 2014 report that incentives can actually hurt economic growth, while Obama’s stimulus grant program was one of the more stark examples of grant largesse.

Alabama lawmakers hope their broadband plan goes hand-in-hand with a proposal from President Trump to spend an immediate $200 billion and long-term $1.5 trillion on infrastructure improvements. Trump hopes to spur more public-private partnerships – so-called P3s – with his proposal to help state and local governments shoulder more of the load. But his plan has faced criticism on both sides – Democrats aren’t fans of the president’s goal to put more costs on the states, while many Republicans say the plan calls for too much spending and haven’t exactly deemed it a high priority this session.

Some on both sides have criticized the lack of any guaranteed funds for broadband, although the plan cites high-speed internet as an infrastructure priority. There are concerns that federal broadband grants could accelerate the growth of government internet projects, which have largely been a sinkhole for taxpayer money.

34 mins ago

Alabama Committee approves ethics exemption for economic developers

An Alabama Senate committee has approved legislation, pushed by the state’s top industry recruiter, to exempt professional economic developers from the state ethics law.

The Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee approved the House-passed bill Wednesday on a 10-2 vote. It now moves to the Senate floor.


The proposal would exempt professional economic developers from the rules that govern lobbyists. The rules include registering with the state, undergoing yearly training and reporting activity.

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield has said professional site developers, who help businesses decide where to locate, will not work in Alabama if they must register as lobbyists.

Ethics Commission Executive Director Tom Albritton has expressed concern about exempting a group of people, whose primary job involves interacting with government officials, from the state ethics law.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

Human trafficking bill that would impose severe penalties for obstruction is step closer to becoming law

Anyone who obstructs a human trafficking investigation in Alabama could be met with the same penalties as the traffickers if the governor signs a bill that passed the House this week with near unanimous support.

The bill, which already passed the Senate, increases penalties in place for those who obstruct, interfere with, prevent, or otherwise get in the way of law enforcement’s investigation into the practice that includes child sex trafficking.

Under current law, such obstruction is only a Class C felony and could result in just one year in prison. The new legislation would increase the maximum offense to a Class A felony, with a minimum jail sentence of ten years.


Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) sponsored the bill and said he is proud that the Alabama Legislature made this a priority.

“This week we’ve taken another crucial step in ending this horrific practice,” Ward said in a statement. “By increasing penalties for those who would aid traffickers, we will hold them just as accountable as the traffickers themselves.”

Human trafficking victims are often children who are trafficked into sexual exploitation at an average age between 11-14 years old, according to the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force.

“Most people assume, ‘Well, that doesn’t happen in my backyard,’” Ward said in an interview with Yellowhammer News when the bill was first introduced. “…It’s everywhere in our state, but there’s low awareness as to how bad it really is.”

Just this week, a Decatur man pled guilty to child sex trafficking and other charges related to his plan to kidnap, rape and kill a mother and sell her 14-year-old daughter to a Memphis pimp, according to horrifying details reported by the Decatur Daily.

Brian David “Blaze” Boersma’s plan was thwarted because an informant, who Boersma recruited to help him with his plan, alerted the FBI.

“Oftentimes it’s like what we say with terrorism,” Ward said. “If you see something suspicious, tell somebody, because a lot of times, trafficking can take place right underneath our noses in our communities.”

The legislation to increase penalties for obstructing human trafficking investigations was delivered to Governor Kay Ivey for her signature Wednesday afternoon.

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is managing editor of Yellowhammer News.

Bill funds ‘active shooter’ training for local law enforcement, school faculty and staff, and students

For much of the year, the safety of our students rests in the hands of the faculty, staff, and resource officers at our schools.  Without a shadow of a doubt, the people who know best how to protect our schools are the teachers, parents, administrators, police officers, and students in their own communities.

In February, the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida resonated throughout our communities, highlighting a disturbing trend of individuals who clearly show signs of grave mental instability falling through the cracks.

Sadly, this incident likely could have been avoided had there been better oversight at every level of law enforcement. From the top down, we failed these students by not heeding the warning signs and working together as a team to ensure our students’ safety.


In response to this incident, the House recently passed the Student, Teacher’s Officer’s Prevention (STOP) School Violence Act, which Bill  to help identify and prevent school violence before these tragic events occur.

First, the STOP School Violence Act provides funding for training to prevent student violence, including training for local law enforcement officers, school personnel, and students in the event of an emergency.  This training would be designed to give students and school personnel the ability to recognize and respond quickly to warning signs of violent behavior and would include active shooter training.

Second, the bill provides funding for technology and equipment to improve school security.  This includes the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems, as well as the installation of metal detectors, locks, and other preventative technologies to keep schools secure.

The legislation also authorizes funding for school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams for school personnel to respond to threats before they become real-time incidents.  Recognizing the warning signs of violent, threatening behavior and having the proper resources to address it on the front end can prevent these tragedies from ever occurring.

Finally, the STOP School Violence Act provides funding to support law enforcement coordination efforts, particularly the officers who already staff schools.  From the federal level all the way down to our local law enforcement, we need to ensure there is accountability and communication when handling violent behavior.

Many of our local schools are already reevaluating their security measures and taking additional steps to promote a safe learning environment for our students.  Our students’ safety and security should always remain a top priority, and I believe it is imperative that our local schools have the most appropriate resources in place in the event of an emergency.

As we look for ways to prevent these terrible tragedies, I am open to additional solutions to address the underlying issues that cause these events to occur.  That said, I remain steadfastly committed to upholding the individual right of all law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms.  Millions of Americans should not have their Second Amendment rights infringed upon due to the bad actions of a few individuals.

Rather, I believe we should focus on addressing mental health issues and combatting the role of violence in our modern culture, such as the prevalence of violent video games that normalize this behavior for our young students, and promoting commonsense solutions that will address the larger issues of mental health so that those with mental illness do not fall through the cracks.

There is still work to be done to ensure each child’s safety and well-being while attending classes. However, I am proud that we have taken this action in the House to promote a safe, secure learning environment for our children.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope. 

(Image: File)

2 hours ago

Ex-Tuskegee football coach accused of selling cocaine, pot

A former assistant football coach at Tuskegee University is accused of selling cocaine and marijuana in Alabama.

U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr. says in a statement that 33-year-old Ramone Jardon Nickerson was arrested Wednesday. Prosecutors say the Phenix City man was indicted by a grand jury after being found with roughly 3 ounces of cocaine, a pound of marijuana and a .40-caliber handgun March 13 in Russell County.


Tuskegee’s website says the alumnus coached cornerbacks and was a four-year starter before joining the coaching staff in 2006.

If convicted, Nickerson could be sentenced to a maximum 20 years in prison for drug trafficking charges and at least 5 years for a related gun charge. There’s no parole in the federal system.

It is unclear if Nickerson has a lawyer.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)