This was sent to me and to "The Selma News". This is an editorial comment from a blog reader, not my own comments. It is properly signed at the bottom by the author. Don't worry, I know where he lives. :-) (a little inside humor, there)
TO THE EDITOR---
Historic Site or Slumlord Tenement???
For years I've been a member of a national volunteer civic organization which has a chapter team in Selma. Our Region has three meetings per year to which officers and voting delegates from surrounding teams attend. Each year, our Selma team hosts one of these. We conduct these business conventions in the Selma Courthouse.
Saturday, November the 4th was our most recently hosted meeting. Teams came from all over North and South Carolina to participate, and were lodged in local motels for the two-day event, as usual. One can only imagine my surprise at the drastic change in the condition of our meeting facility from years past.
While I applaud the commendable work that has been done to upgrade the outward appearance of the Court House facade, and the quality of the Selma Visitors' Center (located in the LEFT half of the building), I am compelled to wonder just what color the sky is in the Town Council's world when it comes to the interior of the courtroom itself.
Historically, we and many other groups have used this as a civic meeting room just as it sat; a courtroom...complete with all the trappings of justice including the judicial bench. For quite sound economic and security reasons, such a facility is no longer needed in Selma. However, the action taken so far regarding it is puzzling. We were always accustomed to meeting at the long conference tables used for the prosecution and defense which sat before the bench. They are still there. The bench, however, is not. Instead, it has been ripped out at the roots. The large area of floor where it once resided is now covered with two cheap, mismatched, odd-sized area throw rugs. The lower wall exposed by the removal of the riser platform is now ugly, exposed, ragged, and devoid of plaster. Someone's solution to this eyesore was no better than that of the floor. Three cheap looking artificial plants now sit in front of a four-foot wide portion of the twelve-foot expanse.
All we've heard from the town board for over a decade now are the "history" and "antiques" concepts. Can you say "HISTORICAL SITE"? Could the Town Council please explain what would have been wrong with such an attraction as the original courtroom? Could it not continue to function as a civic room as it has for generations? As an aside to the visitors' center, would not some have gotten a kick out of having friends and family take their picture (perhaps in an available judge's robe) as Selma's honorary "Justice of the Day"? The town has not even seen fit to replace the filthy and stained carpet remnant that serves as a doormat at the entrance. Can the town not cough up even ten bucks for a decent Welcome mat?
Obviously, the emphasis is on making what the visitor sees while passing through the town look respectable. As to what those who actually live and work here see...well, that's not on the priority list. I guess we all remember what Jesus said about all those white sepulchers and cups that were cleaned only on the outside.