Commission approves removal of racist wording in Alabama Constitution

Aug. 13, 2013 at 2:16 PM
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MONTGOMERY, Ala., Aug. 13 (UPI) -- A committee overhauling Alabama's Constitution narrowly agreed to replace segregationist wording in a section pertaining to public schools.

The Alabama Constitutional Revision Committee voted 9-7 last Thursday to propose a new version of Section 256 of the 1901 Constitution which mandated separate schools for "white and colored children."

The new version states Alabama will "maintain a system of public schools" and adds "nothing in this section shall create any judicially enforceable right," the last phrase a nod to a long-running debate about school funding, The Anniston Star reported Tuesday.

The committee is charged with an article-by-article revision of the Constitution, by far the longest of any state, to eliminate vestiges of racism and segregation. Although the segregationist wording no longer has legal standing, some state leaders say the separate-schools passage is an embarrassment.

Past attempts to change Section 256 have failed, conservatives fearing the "no enforceable right" provision suggests courts could demand equal funding to each of the state's school systems, the newspaper said.

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