Black voters outdistance white in area

Published 9:39 am Monday, December 1, 2008

In the past two months the number of registered black voters in Marengo County has for the first time surged past registered white voters with a current plurality of 286. The official tally from the county registrar’s office is today 7,770 black, 7487 white, and 36 “other.”

During the month of October there has been brisk registration activity with 655 new names added to the rolls, according to Registrar, Barry Hunt.

Marengo County has been listed among the predominantly black Alabama counties for nearly two decades according to U.S. census population estimates. There are seven predominantly black counties in the state. They are, based on the 1990 percentage of black population: Macon – 86.2, Greene County – 80.6, Lowndes – 74.9, Bullock – 72.7, Sumter – 72.7, Wilcox – 69.2, Perry – 64.8, Hale – 59.7, Dallas – 58.3, and Marengo – 51.1. The figures for black residents are higher today.

While black population is growing faster than white population in the state, the margin is still overwhelmingly white with 71.2 percent and 26.3 percent black.

The Associated Press last week noted significant racial voter patterns in Alabama. Ninety percent of white voters, their exit polls showed, voted with Republican John McCain. The AP’s Ben Evans reported also “…Black voters almost universally (98 percent) supported Democrat Barack Obama.” In Marengo, Obama carried by 414 votes.

Demopolis council member Thomas Moore last week referred to racial voting in the South as “…the least gratifying” aspect of the election but noted that nationwide, Obama garnered much white support, without which he could not have won.

In recent localized elections there has been crossover with blacks voting for whites and vice versa. The current white district attorney, Greg Griggers, carried a predominantly black district in the last election. Black State Representative A. J. McCampbell apparently finds much support among white voters.

Blacks in the past have voted for many white office holders in Marengo County. In neighboring Greene County, however, there are no white office holders except for two members of the city council.