Eminent Domain Abuse in Birmingham? (The Evergreen Baptist Church)

In this recent testimony before the Alabama State Advisory Committee of the U,S. Commission on Civil Rights, Rev. John E. Smith gives his version of what happened after eminent domain was used to take the one hundred year old Evergreen Baptist Church. In exchange, the state gave the congregation land to build a new church.

When construction was underway, however, the city sent a bill of $80,000 for a new water main. As a result, Smith says that the church is being pushed into bankruptcy and the congregation is falling away.

The testimony of Smith’s wife Gail (about half way into the youtube) is particularly passionate.

David T. Beito, a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and a retired professor of history at the University of Alabama, is the co-author of T.R.M. Howard: Doctor, Entrepreneur, Civil Rights Pioneer and is writing a new book, FDR’s War on the Bill of Rights.
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