Jackson defends Rowser; says she doesn’t impersonate lawyer

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2003

An Alabama state representative believes charges against a Demopolis woman are without merit.

State Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville, represents parts of south Marengo County, and less than two weeks ago, he went to the Marengo County Detention Center and posted bond for Thedford Rowser. Rowser was indicted by a Marengo County Grand Jury for the unlawful practice of law.

In fact, as the second week of the 2003 legislative session begins, Jackson has already made a mark in Montgomery by gaining support for something he and Rowser have worked on together.

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Nearly two years ago, a series of stories published by the Associated Press entitled "Torn From the Land," documented the taking of 24,000 acres of land owned by black Americans "through violence, trickery and legal maneuvers."

Willie Williams, one of those given 40 acres back after the series of stories, lives in Sweet Water. He received the land – which once belonged to his family – after former Gov. Don Siegelman acknowledged a "severe injustice" and signed a land grant that returned the property to people like Williams.

The cases of "unjust" land ownership have not gone away, according to Jackson. Through Rowser’s help, he has begun researching more land in the area, including the land of the Hosea family.

Jackson believes Rowser’s work with the Hosea family is what led to her indictment and eventual arrest, and he is concerned because he has never seen the Rowser "present herself as an attorney." He also believes there is some sort of vindication toward Rowser, though he didn’t elaborate much on that.

Jackson has called a press conference for Friday at 8 a.m. at the Marengo County Courthouse to address the issue further.

While Jackson is expected to discuss the specifics of his claims on Friday, he has already made headway in the statehouse concerning the investigation of land he feels was unjustly taken from black families.

The Alabama legislature, in its first week of the session, granted Jackson that request.