Visitation Cut at Etowah Co. Detention Center, Negro League Museum Opening

Aug 28, 2015

Etowah County Detention Center, Gadsden, Ala.

Immigrant detainees at the Etowah County Detention Center are at the center of a civil rights complaint over abuse and visitation rights.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds an average of 300 foreign detainees in Etowah County awaiting deportation. The advocacy group Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement says there's evidence of widespread abuse at Etowah. They filed a formal complaint earlier this month.

Christina Mansfield is a co-founder of CIVIC. She says she heard reports of abuse on her first visit to the facility in 2013.

“A particular group of men were taken and were coerced into signing papers that would facilitate their deportation. At least one man was assaulted by ICE officers in an attempt to force him to sign those travel documents.”

Now the visits have been suspended. Both CIVIC and the Southern Poverty Law Center say it’s retaliation, and are demanding that the Etowah County Detention Center restore their visitation.

A museum in Birmingham honoring black baseball players who formed their own league during segregation is opening today.

Mayoral spokeswoman April Odom says the Negro Southern League Museum will open to the public this afternoon at 4. The museum is a tribute to the Birmingham Black Barons and other players in the league.

Birmingham Barons officials say the Black Barons became members of the Negro Southern League in 1920 and played its last game in 1963. The team won three pennants in the 1940s. Its roster included baseball legends like Satchel Paige and Willie Mays.

Odom says the museum will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 7 PM and noon to 5 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival is getting underway with a movie you can sink your teeth into.

The Alabama Department of Tourism teamed up with film maker Norton Dill to produce the documentary Q—Alabama Barbecue Legends. The hour-long film focuses on family run barbecue restaurants handed down from father to son.

Brian Jones is with the state Tourism Department. He says the inspiration for the film was the rules for Alabama’s BBQ Hall of Fame.

“They had to be open for at least 50 years. And, you know, we’d thought we’d have a handful—it turns out that we have 29 barbecue restaurants in Alabama that have been open for at least 50 years.”

Alabama boasts having the most barbeque restaurants per capita than any state in the nation. The documentary Q—Alabama Barbecue Legends will be shown tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 at the Carver Theater in Birmingham.