Roy Moore talks, book generated big bucks

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 6, 2005

MONTGOMERY &8212; It was no secret that former Chief Justice Roy Moore was raking in big bucks on what is called the &8220;Knife & Fork Circuit&8221;. . . as a public speaker . . . but nobody realized until last week how lucrative it has been.

As required by the Ethics Law, Moore filed a financial disclosure form with the Ethics Commission indicating his income in 2004 from speaking engagements and the sale of his book (&8220;So Help Me God&8221;) had generated more than $250,000 in income.

For the record, that is almost three times as much as he would make if he were to be elected governor. The salary of that office is $96,361 annually.

Without question the death of Rosa Parks in late October has had impact on the observation of the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, most especially the press coverage of this event both within and without the state.

So much coverage was given to the death of Mrs. Parks . . . the &8220;Mother of the Bus Boycott&8221;. . . that what might have been a huge story this week has diminished enormously.

Several newsmen from both the print and broadcast media from out of state contacted me in recent weeks and posed almost the identical question: What can we write or say about the bus boycott anniversary which we haven’t already written or said following the death of Mrs. Parks?

It was a good question which I could not answer.

Certainly there were a variety of programs and observations in Montgomery on Dec. 1 . . . the date Mrs. Parks was arrested . . . but they received nothing like the wall-to-wall coverage given her death and funeral. There was no mention of the boycott anniversary on the MSNBC website on Dec. 1.

There was a sad sidebar to this historic event last week. Claudette Colvin, in an interview with USA Today, expressed some bitterness that her role in the bus boycott had been overlooked.

Ms. Colvin was arrested in March, 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus. This was nine months before Mrs. Parks was arrested.

At the time she was only 15, and police reports indicated that she resisted arrest and also shouted profanities at the arresting officers.

No matter, black leaders in Montgomery did not choose to use her arrest to launch the boycott.

Ms. Colvin, in the interview, expressed some resentment that she never got any recognition.

&8220;Rosa got the recognition,&8221; she said in the USA Today interview. &8220;I didn’t even get any recognition. I was disappointed by that because maybe that would have opened some doors. After 381 days (the length of the boycott) I was not a part of things anymore. When I heard about stuff, it was like somebody else, on TV.&8221;

Bob Ingram has been covering Alabama politics for more than 50 years