Insight: The legacy of Bailey Thomson
Dec 01, 2013 | 9523 views |  0 comments | 85 85 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Illustration: AnnaMaria Jacob/The Anniston Star
Illustration: AnnaMaria Jacob/The Anniston Star
slideshow
It’s been 10 years since this journalist, educator, reformer died. Five writers reflect on the life and times of this influential thinker.

In his own words: Selected writings by Bailey Thomson

“At the geographic center of this vibrant region lies Alabama, which for a long time has claimed to be the ‘Heart of Dixie.’ But our state provides no successful model for this emerging New South. Indeed, this generation of Alabamians has failed even to elect a governor worthy of regional respect.

“Rather than the ‘Heart of Dixie,’ Alabama represents Dixie’s broken heart. Instead of pride and satisfaction, our state flag evokes an overwhelming sadness and regret that we Alabamians have not been the wise stewards of our inheritance. Certainly, we have failed to invest sufficiently in our greatest resource — our people. “

• • •


“Along U.S. 11, within a few square miles of Mercedes’ gleaming edifice, is a microcosm of Alabama. In one direction, you see the reward for decisive action and vision, as Alabama workers produce some of the world’s finest vehicles. In the other direction, you encounter people struggling to get by, with little hope for good jobs. You see a school suffering from neglect and crowding, and a local government unable to manage costly sprawl.

“What you see is a story of two Alabamas — one pegged to a promising future, the other trapped in the weary past.”

• • •


“Today, the Alabama constitution continues to play favorites through clever schemes that protect privileged landowners. What this obsolete document can’t do, however, is hide the folly of pampering timber corporations, speculators and other wealthy interests at the expense of public school children and poor families …”

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