What happened when a Black Tennessee town faced a state takeover

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By Claretta Bellamy, NBC News

Mason, Tennessee, nearly lost the ability to govern itself after a Ford plant was announced nearby. But the small Black town of 1,600 pushed back.

An imitation of the Statue of Liberty in Mason, a city that fought back against the Tennessee comptroller (Andrea Morales/NBC News)

When Mason, Tennessee, faced losing its ability to govern its own finances in a fight with white state officials earlier this year, doing so brought a spotlight to the majority Black community of fewer than 1,600 people for a situation that town advocates called discriminatory. 

For months, Mason battled for its own financial control after the town refused to give up its charter, prompting the state to formally take over its finances shortly after carmaker Ford announced a major project nearby. But in May, Mason officials dropped a lawsuit they brought to Tennessee’s Chancery Court against state officials, after agreeing to more favorable terms, signaling the lengthy feud between the town and the state over racial discrimination and autonomy is coming to an end. 

The majority Black town, represented in court by the NAACP, announced during a press conference last month that it would regain its independence, while also reaping the benefits of the nearby economic development opportunity coming to the region.

Find out how the conflict in Mason started.

Just like this city was faced with harsh bills, residents of poor neighborhoods are more likely to receive fines. Actions that result in property loss contribute to the Black holocaust.

Check out this breaking news about civil rights issues.

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