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Robert Phillips Complains About Redistricting

Robert Phillips appeared at the Lowndes County School District’s December 9 board meeting to challenge statements made last month about his involvement in past redistricting efforts.
At the board’s November meeting, Chris Watson of Oxford-based Bridge and Watson, who have been retained to handle the district’s redistricting effort, said this when referring to efforts to create more black districts: “Ten years ago the same situation arose. Mr. Robert Phillips is a person I remember very well. He participated in the redistricting process. He and whatever other group of citizens…there was that request to create a second minority district. Ten years ago it couldn’t be done. I’m not saying that it couldn’t be done now, but it couldn’t be done ten years ago. They went so far as to retain an attorney, and what it all came down to it we all sat down around a computer one day and…it couldn’t be done.”
Phillips disputed this version of events.
“I had some concerns about a misleading article that was printed in the Packet pertaining to the redistricting of the Lowndes County School Board,” he said. “I saw our board attorney’s name associated somewhere in there saying we had an attorney that had some kind of input in the redistricting of the school lines, or that’s the way I understood it. Correct me if I’m wrong. That’s not the case. We never had an attorney to participate in the redistricting of the school district. I was appointed by Supervisor Joe Brooks to be on the Lowndes County redistricting committee – for all county elected officials. I wasn’t relegated to a school board. Since I was there and noticed that the lines had not been redrawn since 1988 and there were two minorities on the board…not in 1990, in 1988. The redistricting is supposed to occur in the zero year of every decade, and it had not been done since 1988.
“There was something very strange with that line in New Hope,” he said. “Look at that map and you will see the line between East Lindsey Ferry and Carlton Road. If you look at the legend on that map, it shows that it’s 66% to 100% black population. You will see no access roads, no driveways, nothing. I have the addresses and names of everyone in that area. It’s about 11 people. About four of those families are Caucasians. The whole thing was redrawn wrong. I don’t know what those 66 to 100% on that legend was. Bears, or rabbits, or what, but it’s no humans in there. It’s a violation of our one man, one vote precept of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
“We met on this at the Comfort Inn,” he said. “We couldn’t have a meeting at the time but we were allowed to have one later. I have that disk, and it’s acknowledged that the redrawing was wrong and we need to sit down and look at them. When are we going to sit down and look at them? This violates one man, one vote. It’s not the three-fifths negro vote of ancient history. When you redo these lines, the ratio should be properly put in place to give minorities…it’s not hard for us to vote for anybody, but Caucasians are not going to vote for blacks. Nobody knows us the way we know us. Nobody speaks for us other than Ms. Gray. We must do something about that.”
“We’re working on redistricting right now,” said board President Bobby Barksdale.
“I don’t want none of those funny lines,” Phillips said.
The board took no action.

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4 comments

  1. This Robert Phillips is singing a sad song “ain’t no Caucasian gonna vote for black”…. Does he realize our mayor is a Black man? And I’m one truly happy man that McQueen is the new chief!!!!! Get past this way of thinking people!!!!

  2. Juan Valdez

    We have enough black districts, they are called the ghetto. If you don’t know what they look like read the Packet. It’s where most of the arrests are made or the perpetrators come from.

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