Linden needs to cross the line

Published 1:04 am Saturday, September 3, 2011

Thursday’s decision by the Linden Board of Education brought to an end a tumultuous week and a half in the city. As the question of Linden High football’s home field hung over everyone’s head, there was no shortage of finger pointing and hurt feelings.

Thursday’s decision brought some semblance of resolution to the matter. At least, that is the case in the interim.

The truth about Linden is that there is a line. There is a line between the public school Patriots and the private school Longhorns.

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One side of that line is blue and the other is orange. And if that is all the line divided, that would be fine. But the situation with the Linden Athletic Field served to point out the fact that the line is drawn between more than schools and that the colors it divides are not blue and orange.

There is a lot of unrest in that little bitty city, a town far too small to be divided by anything. The unrest reaches back a few generations and the two board of education meetings this week drew a lot of residual anger to the surface on at least one side of that line.

There is a temporary resolution in place for the Linden Athletic Field. The Patriots will play their 2011 home games at Marengo High School in Dixon’s Mills.The Longhorns will continue to play at LAF. And the Linden BOE will ask the city council to intervene and take over the Linden Athletic Field.

But, sadly enough, those measures will only treat the symptoms. The problem is far deeper.

The line that divides the city must be erased. There is no other acceptable solution for Linden.

Linden High home games in recent years have often seen the crowd dotted with the orange and white letterman jackets of Marengo Academy football players. Similarly, Marengo Academy games have often featured blue and red Linden jackets. So there seems to be at least one generation willing to erase that line.

For the city to move forward and to find its optimum success, there must be more than just one generation will to cross that line.

There are plenty of good, well-intentioned men and women on both sides of that line. There are a lot of people who wear orange and a lot of people who wear blue who would like each other an awful lot if they took the time to figure that out.

But the differences between them cannot be drawn by anything more than the team colors they wear if those relationships are ever to be forged. And if too many more situations take place such as the one with Linden Athletic Field, those letterman jackets and those team t-shirts will represent more than a rooting divide. They will be nothing but reminders of a racial separation, the one thing that will keep Linden from getting out of its own way.

Jeremy D. Smith is the community editor of the Demopolis Times.