Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) sent a letter to the presidents of Huntsville, Alabama’s City Council and Board of Education urging them to alter Huntsville’s district configuration, which currently denies Black voters fair representation on the school board. The Alabama NAACP and Huntsville NAACP joined with LDF in raising concerns that the school board’s refusal to draw a second majority-minority district violates the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution.
“The lack of a second majority-Black district on the school board clearly diminishes the influence of Black voters,” said LDF Assistant Counsel Deuel Ross. “Although Huntsville’s population is 30% Black and the city council has two majority-Black districts, the school board inexplicably only has one. Despite Black candidates running, no Black candidate has ever been able to win in a seat in a majority-white district. We are dedicated to ensuring those elected are responsive to the communities they serve.”
Huntsville has a well-documented history of discrimination. In 2014, a district court ruled in Hereford v. Huntsville that the segregation and discriminatory discipline policies in the Huntsville schools were negatively impacting Black students. The school board continues to make important decisions regarding the lives of Black students with little input from Huntsville’s Black residents, including decisions relevant to Hereford v. Huntsville. LDF strongly urges the City Council and Board of Education to take immediate action to change Huntsville’s district configuration in order to comply with the Voting Rights Act. We have offered the city our help in resolving this issue.
Read our full letter here.