“In rural Hale County, Alabama, 25 percent of working-age adults are on disability, and as a result, they get a check from the government averaging about $1,000 a month. Hale is part of a massive rise in the number of Americans on disability in the past 20 years, according to a report this weekend on the National Public Radio show “This American Life.
The episode, “Trends With Benefits,” prominently features Hale County and its county seat, Greensboro, due to the abnormal rate of disability in the county.
“Millions of people have been removed from welfare rolls in the last 15 years, and politicians have patted themselves on the back for that,” host Ira Glass says in a promo for the episode. “But at the very same time, the same number of people have signed up for government disability checks. …”
Note: The mp3 of this episode will be available for download tomorrow evening.
According to the Census, Hale County (AL) is 58.3% African-American. Greensboro is 60.89% African-American. Hale County (AL) is named in honor of Stephen F. Hale, a signer of the Confederate Constitution, who was wounded at the Battle of Gaines’ Mill in Virginia and died near Richmond.
In his letter to the Governor of Kentucky, Stephen F. Hale wrote:
“If the policy of the Republicans is carried out, according to the programme indicated by the leaders of the party, and the South submits, degradation and ruin must overwhelm alike all classes of citizens in the Southern States. The slave-holder and non-slave-holder must ultimately share the same fate — all be degraded to a position of equality with free negroes, stand side by side with them at the polls, and fraternize in all the social relations of life; or else there will be an eternal war of races, desolating the land with blood, and utterly wasting and destroying all the resources of the country.”
Six years later, Hinton Rowan Helper writing from the vantagepoint of Reconstruction in North Carolina – who had been one of the fiercest opponents of slavery and secession – had lived to see Hale’s frightening prophecy come true.