To the Editor:

In the recent controversy surrounding the Mapp-Gilmore building is was quite astonishing to hear Ms. Kathie Russell play the race card. It was less surprising to hear that some local black community leaders are supporting her. The Historical Preservation Commission is not trying to suppress business in the black community. They are doing their job by assuring that Ms. Russell and her financial backers adhere to the standards that they agreed to. It appears Ms. Russell and her financial backers are trying to hide their lust for power and greed behind the issue of race. Local black leaders should not allow themselves to be used as pawns. The city council would be wise to steer clear of this issue, because it would open them up to awkward legal and political ramifications in the present and the future. The HPC is trying to protect the integrity of the building that represents the legacy of black business development in Morgan County. Mapp Funeral Home, up until the time it closed was one of oldest, continuously run businesses in Madison. Black citizens should not allow their black leaders or others to misuse the issue of race to hide questionable business practices. The race card should only be played when it is legitimately necessary to do so.

Mrs. R.F. Jackson, Sr. Madison