WERC 2019 ABBY Submission

Large Market: R12. The Struggle Continues Today

NewsRadio 105-5 WERC

Credit John Mountz

Contact 205-439-8155  johnmountz@iheartmedia.com

Title of Submission:  The Struggle Continues Today

On November 22nd 2018, Thousands of Birmingham Area shoppers descended upon Alabama’s largest indoor shopping mall to kick off the Christmas shopping season.  It was in that crowded mall that a disagreement between two groups of young men ended in multiple shots exchanged that injured an innocent  12 year old girl and 20 year old Erron Dequan Brown.  One of the men involved in the altercation Emantic Fitzgerald (EJ) Bradford  fled the scene of the shooting with his gun in his hand.  As he ran from the scene, he encountered a city of Hoover Police officer who was responding to the report of shots fired.  What happened next still under investigation. 

Justified or not, the Hoover police officer shot and killed EJ Bradford.  In the wake of this occurrence the mall was immediately closed but quickly re-opened the next day.  Word traveled quickly.  A (presumed White) Police officer had shot and killed a young Black man.  This single occurrence thrust the Birmingham Metropolitan area into the national spotlight yet again for another case of racial injustice between police and the African American community.  In the days and weeks to follow, there were nightly protests at the mall, in the streets and at city hall. 

The funeral for EJ Bradford drew civil rights leaders from around the state and around the nation.  The most noteworthy was the Reverend Jesse Jackson.  That day, the Reverend Jackson both eulogized Bradford and also preached a sermon at the 16th Street Baptist Church.  This was the church that was bombed in 1963 by three Klansmen killing four little girls.  It was here that WERC’s John Mountz caught up with the Reverend Jackson. 

John was able to arrange for a wide-ranging 15 minute interview with Jackson that was intended to place the most recent events in perspective with the Birmingham area’s infamous history.  John sought answers and context to major historical events that have happened in Alabama that Jackson was a part of like Bloody Sunday.  Jackson would also recount his recollection of the death of Martin Luther King Jr.  The interview concludes with Jackson’s thoughts on the death of Bradford and the current tensions between the community and law enforcement. 

The interview was recorded on location in the fellowship hall of the 16th Street Baptist Church immediately after the Reverend had delivered his sermon. It aired the following Sunday December the 9th at 7am on WERC-FM in Birmingham Alabama.  The submission has been truncated from its original length to 10 minutes to fit contest rules.

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