HISTORY OF ANSC
The Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC) was officially founded on January 25, 1986 in Birmingham. Citizens came from across Alabama to its organizing convention and voted unanimously to establish the organization. As it was envisioned, the organization would hold no ties to any particular political party and would be open to persons of all races with a vision for a “New South.”
The first Selma meeting took place on November 22, 1985 when more than 60 persons met to discuss the pros and cons of forming the organization. At the conclusions of the meeting, it was decided that the Alabama New south Coalition would be formed through a convention in Birmingham on January 24 and 25. It was agreed that each county would be represented according to its “potential membership population.
The group that met in Selma began what some viewed as the virtually impossible task of organizing a successful organization throughout a statewide convention in less than six weeks.
More than 1200 people participated in the two day gathering. By the time the question, “Shall we form the Alabama New South Coalition? The New South had risen. Mayor Richard Arrington Jr. the first African-American mayor of Birmingham Alabama was elected President, and Attorney J.L. Chestnut, Attorney for Martin Luther King during the Selma Civil Rights Campaign and Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March, was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors. Dr. Carol P. Zippert of Greene County was elected ANSC State Treasurer and Ms. Virginia Volker of Birmingham was elected as ANSC’s first State Secretary.
The two most active leaders in creating ANSC willingly took supporting offices. Senator Hank Sanders of Selma, currently the Chair of Alabama’s 4 Billion Dollar Education Trust Fund Budget, became Chair of the Seventh Congressional District, and Senator Michael Figures of Mobile, Alabama’s first President Pro Tem of the Senate, and highest ever African-American elected state official became first vice president of ANSC.
A central office was opened on historic Dexter Avenue in Montgomery. Shortly, thereafter, official chapters were established in 40 counties. On May 9 and 10, 1986, the first ANSC Endorsement Convention was held in Mobile. Reverend Jesse Jackson delivered the first ever keynote convention address. Under the leadership of attorney Rose M. Sanders, ANSC inaugurated the 21st Century Leadership Training camp which was attended by more than 150 youth from throughout Alabama. ANSC became and has remained a major force in Alabama Politics and all fields of human endeavor, with the unifying goal of its members being to “Making a change for the better in our lifetime.”