Your history of Selma, Ala., is remarkably similar to that of Baltimore ("Selma, 50 years after march, remains a divided city," March 7).

In the mid-1960s, both cities were majority white; today, after years of massive white flight, they both have substantial black majorities. Then, their local governments were all or virtually all white; today they are almost all black.

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Then and now they both were and are Democratic strongholds and substantially racially segregated.

Then and now, their black populations were and are among the poorest communities in their respective states. Their immense black unemployment rates today are significantly higher than they were in the mid-'60s.

Violent crime among Selma's blacks is now five times that of Alabama's other cities. Black communities in Baltimore produce the three highest crime and incarceration rates in Maryland.

Then and now, their educational institutions and cultural organizations were and are overwhelmingly segregated.

The infrastructure in the black communities in both cities is "crumbling" while that of their minority white communities is remarkably preserved and improved.

As Jesse Jackson noted, for blacks there is no "correlation between political power and economic power..." How true that is, at least when the political power is solidly in the hands of Democrats.

Barry C. Steel, Phoenix

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