Eminent Domain Abuse in Birmingham? (The Evergreen Baptist Church)

In this recent testimony (youtube) before the Alabama State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Rev. John E. Smith gives his version of what happened after Birmingham used eminent domain to take the one hundred year old Evergreen Baptist Church. In exchange, the city gave the congregation land to build a new church.

When construction was underway, however, the city sent a bill of $80,000 charging the church for a new water main. As a result, Smith says that the church is being pushed into bankruptcy and the members are falling away.

The testimony of Smith’s wife Gail (about half way into the youtube) is particularly passionate.

David Beito is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute and editor of the Independent book, The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society (with Peter Gordon and Alexander Tabarrok).
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