Thursday, July 06, 2006

The river phoenix still hasn't risen

A lot can happen in 10 years. The reopening of the Gees Bend ferry service in Wilcox County doesn't appear to be one of those things.

After a decade of delays and one Pulitzer Prize-winning story about the isolated, mostly black community, the ferry is almost ready for a revival about 40 years after county officials shut it down to retaliate for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s visit. Unfortunately, the river hasn't been dredged to make way for the vessel yet, and the county is scrounging to find money to fund the service for more than a few years.

Some Gees Bend residents have given up hope that the ferry ever will return. Others don't think it's worth the effort. Said one: "You can't fix the past by building the same thing. You have to do better. Build a bridge. Take the money and repave the highway. Create a scholarship fund for our children."


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