Alternate History

Selma (1983: Doomsday)

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Selma, located in the former state of Alabama, is a city-state of approximately 13,500, believed to consist exclusively of African-Americans.


The city-state's key role in the African-American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s made it a powerful symbol for southern African-Americans. In the first months after Doomsday, it served as a place of refuge for all area Alabama residents, including refugees from nearby Montgomery, the state capital that had been destroyed. A provisional regional government was established on December 27, 1983.

It kept the peace, more or less, until white supremacists posing as Alabama state government representatives, and U.S. marshals and military (using uniforms stolen from military who had escaped the strike on Fort Benning, Georgia), arrived in April 1986.

Their leaders and strategists then began forming a plan to attack and conquer Selma by a divide-and-conquer strategy: after peacefully entering the city and gaining people's trust, spark racial tension in the city, then kill those they planned to be the fall guys: African-Americans. This would eliminate competitors for food, medicine and other supplies and help "purify" the region in the process.

Within weeks, the men who posed as representatives of the provisional state government and as U.S. government agents had the city on the verge of rioting, provoking fear within white residents of the black community, and sparking incidents of fire bombings, arson and 'random' shootings within the black community. Resources were being routed to the white community, leading first to protests, then rioting, by the desperate black community.

The voices of the few white and black leaders imploring the rest of the community that their problems had nothing to do with race fell on deaf ears.

On June 14, 1986, the black protesters attempted a takeover of the Selma courthouse, only to be met with gunfire, thus beginning the Selma War.

Over the next three months, thousands died in never-ending fighting, including virtually anyone who would have been a voice of reason in halting the conflict. The New Montgomery leaders - having killed off Selma's mayor and other civic leaders - ran the 'white district', consisting of the city's southwest region. Blacks controlled the rest of the city.

The vast belief by both sides was that - especially with the Alabama state government having fallen at Auburn, and no contact from the United States federal government nor military having come since Doomsday - they were the last humans on earth, or at least in the former United States.

It was 'disinformation', repeated over and over by "White Army of America" leader Clyde Harness and his lieutenants who knew that survivors likely lived in south Georgia, and probably other parts of the nation. It was a policy that Harness felt would best maintain his power over "his people". The mindset was brought into pretty much by everyone, and even Harness's own lieutenants began believing it to be true.

That mindset likely was what ended the war.

On September 16, both sides agreed to end the war with a ceasefire, with neither side admitting defeat nor fault. The alternative was seen as finishing the war out to the last man, woman or child...and while pride helped fuel the fighting, the prospect of extinction was a much more powerful motivator to end the war.

As part of the ceasefire, Selma was handed over to the black majority; some whites agreed to stay as "servants" (to atone for alleged crimes against humanity committed before and during the Selma War). The whites agreed to leave with those who actually started the war, back to Bladon Springs.

Selma, now almost exclusively African-American, was left to build a new society of its own.

Over the years, Selma residents have had skirmishes with New Montgomery residents, but both sides have stuck to their unspoken agreement not to bother one another.

Selma has, over the years, rejected overtures for formal relations with Hattiesburg and Natchez. It has also sent away a party from western Tennessee at gunpoint. And in fear for its own survival, the Selma government has acted quickly to silence a few of its citizens who - citing the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - called for the city-state to seek peace with its neighbors.

One of those citizens, the Reverend Leonard Walker (who had participated in the famous Selma-to-Montgomery marches in 1965), was executed for treason in 1987. Walker had continually, and despite the urging and pleas of other Selma residents, called for the government to change its policies. The Reverend had gradually gained a following for his strong Christian faith and for his continual challenges of Selma government policy. Fearing a coup d'etat (a concern without grounds, as Walker never intended to overthrow the government and take over), Selma authorities ordered his arrest on sedition charges. When public opinion failed to change in the wake of Walker's arrest, the then-ruling authorities decided to have him executed, in part to end the perceived threat and in part to silence any opposition to the government.

After Walker's execution by hanging, no one challenged the government nor its policies in any manner for years. The building his church met in was torn down, and its members absorbed into Selma's First Baptist Church and AME Church.

Though Walker is long dead, he has become famous throughout the mid-South region as an American folk hero who stood for his God and for all people's liberty and freedom. Walker is especially famous for a statement attributed to him in a sermon he preached before his fateful arrest: 

"As Dr. King, and others, fought through nonviolent means to change their world for the better, so must we honor their sacrifices. We do so in this new world, where God has seen fit to allow us to live, and given us an opportunity either to hate, and to fight to the death, or to put aside hatred, and work hand in hand with the man who should not be our enemy. Dr. King fought for a society in which all men, regardless of race or creed, were equal. We can choose to finish the war that the Russians started by destroying one another, or we can choose to take the opportunity that God has given us to work together to build a new society. One where all men and women, created equally by a loving God, partner together, work together, play together, worship together, build together. We must stand, with one another and with the white man, and honor the ideals and sacrifices of Dr. King and those like him. Selma must stand as a symbol not of freedom of oppression and hatred of the white man, but of freedom from oppression from the hatred and prejudice that resides in all human hearts. Selma must stand as a base for the building of a new nation, under God, where all men are equal, regardless of race, color or creed."

Over the years, the Selma government chose to become extremely isolationistic. However, while not welcoming whites, the leadership's stances towards white survivors softened with time. Survivors discovered around the region would be given food and medical assistance; they would either be left alone (as long as they reciprocated), or be given assistance to move to Hattiesburg. A few survivalists were pointed in the direction of New Montgomery.

For a variety of reasons, Selma's population has topped out at 13,500 with much of its population being in their teens and early twenties. As older leaders and influencers in the city-state passed away, the younger generation has become more and more influential...and many leaders within this generation have shown interest in opening Selma back up to the outside world.

The situation in Selma, as currently known from information gained from Hattiesburg agents and residents feeding information to the agents, is that Selma society currently breaks down into two groups: a slightly larger group that wants to stay isolationistic and has some mildly racist sentiments against non-black ethnic groups; and the opposition group that wants to engage with the outside world, and move away from the isolationistic, mildly racist stances the Selma government has held for the past two decades.

Among those in the latter group are church ministers whose primary human inspirations are Dr. King and the Reverend Walker, and who are determined to ensure that King and Walker's deaths were not in vain and that the principles they fought for would prevail, no matter how much the world around them had changed.

In 2009, Selmans were shocked to see a half-white, half-black group from Hattiesburg approach the town. Troops were curious to see the two East Caribbean diplomats who accompanied the group; through them, Selma leaders learned of the existence of the League of Nations. The Hattiesburg group's visit, and that of the diplomats, set off debate in the city as to what to do with them, and with the world they represented.

The end result was Selma leaders meeting in Hattiesburg with representatives of the League of Nations in March 2010. With the LoN making it clear it wanted to see peace in the region, Selma also made it clear it wanted no part of the "white devils" from New Montgomery, but did want "significant" Mexican and East Caribbean investment in Selma. Diplomats from Guyana, El Salvador, Mexico and Hattiesburg stayed in Selma to begin the long process of bringing permanent peace into the region, and to help heal still-lingering wounds from the Selma War.

By May, the first ambassadors from Hattiesburg, the East Caribbean Federation and Mexico, and their families, had settled in Selma. Engineers came to begin the long process of rewiring the town for electricity, and prelimary plans for a power plant to service the region was begun. The League of Nations also began a series of talks with Selma civic leaders to encourage them to open up the city to the other area nations and independent towns.

In July, a statue of Reverend Leonard Walker was unveiled on the site of the church he pastored. It likely will become one of the first League of Nations historical landmarks in North America.


Selma's government is unicameral, with the mayor acting as the chief executive and the town council as the de facto legislature, debating and passing laws. The chief judge is the head of the town's legal system, interpreting laws according to the town constitution.

Selma's police department functions as the town's police force and military and is nominally accountable to the mayor and the town council (in practice, mainly to the mayor).

Slavery was abolished in 1993 and is punishable by death.

African-Americans are legally the only race of people allowed to freely live and work in Selma.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed under the town constitution, but the pre-Doomsday idea of separation of church and state is not. Christian church leaders freely operate in civic, public and religious life. The Selma Baptist Church and Selma AME Church of Christ both play a prominent role in Selma society and government. Both churches campaigned against fledgling atheist and black Muslim movements over the years and their efforts are largely credited with neither movement really being able to get off the ground.


Community life revolves around the home, whether one lives in town or in the numerous farms that surround Selma. Family, immediate and extended, is a core value for all Selmanians, especially given how Doomsday tore apart the lives of most older residents. Education, support, entertainment for the most part is based in the home.

Christianity also plays an important role in all aspects of Selma life, including government and politics, as well as local culture and education. This is in large part considered to be due to the strong influence of the African-American church in the region going back to the initial weeks after Doomsday.

Christian churches - all which find their roots in various pre-Doomsday, predominantly African-American denominational groups - regularly host community events, including concerts, plays and speeches, and also host debates between candidates for mayor and other public offices. In fact, church leaders commonly run for office.

Though Selma's constitution does not allow for a 'state church', nevertheless an estimated 9 out of 10 residents are considered to be active in the Christian faith. It is common for political and government leaders to appeal to the Bible or to 'Christian values'. The Bible is taught in the Selma school system and in home schools authorized by the state, as both a historical and a religious document.


Barter is the most common method of exchange. In the closed society they have lived in for the past few decades, Selma residents find it most practical to exchange goods and/or services for other goods and/or services. A currency, most commonly referred to as the Selma dollar, was introduced 12 years ago but has never taken off, despite two attempts by civic leaders to make it the economic standard.

The Selma government helps support the elderly and residents who are, for reasons of injury or illness, unable to work to support themselves. Churches typically provide the bulk of support for such individuals, with Selma providing additional need as necessary.

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