Two Alabama state senators say they want to divert part of a statewide property tax tied to the legacy of the Confederacy to preserve and promote Black history in the state, reports the Associated Press.
Alabama imposed the tax to fund pensions for Confederate soldiers and their widows, and still collects it today, the only tax directly tied to the Confederacy. Most of the revenue is used for other purposes, but 1 percent goes to preserve and operate the state’s Confederate Memorial Park in rural Mountain Creek. The Chilton County site between Montgomery and Birmingham was the site of a home for indigent Confederate veterans and their widows.
Sen. Clyde Chambliss told the Montgomery Advertiser that he and Sen. Bobby Singleton will sponsor a bill this year that will preserve funding for the park, but require that the state spend an equal 1 percent on Black history sites.
That would be more than $500,000 a year for each purpose. The owner of a $100,000 house who utilizes Alabama’s homestead exemption pays 10 cents a year for the park’s upkeep.
“It is imperative that we remember all of our history and learn from both the good and the bad,” said Chambliss, a Prattville Republican. “I will continue working with all that want to share my love of history, to protect, enhance and restore symbols that will help us avoid the mistakes of the past and move our state forward in a positive direction.”
Singleton, a Greensboro Democrat and African American, didn’t respond to requests for comment.