Jesse Jackson: The New South is Legacy of Martin Luther KingRoundup: Talking About History
Jesse Jackson is a civil rights activist, a Baptist minister, former candidate for president, and was one of the last men to see MLK alive.
New Hampshire’s primary grabs headlines today, but if history is any guide, the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary will play a far greater role in determining the Republican winner.
Of that state’s population, 28 percent are African American, and could be a major factor in the primary. But Republican candidates have made little effort to reach out to the black community. Republican South Carolina voters are likely to be nearly as white as they were in Iowa and New Hampshire. All the Republican candidates will pay tribute to Dr. King on his birthday next week, but they seem oblivious to one of his greatest contributions: the creation of the New South.
In a time of growing inequality, we forget the scope of Dr. King’s victory. When I was growing up in Greenville, S.C., segregation was the law of the land. Blacks and whites attended separate and unequal schools. My friends and I were locked out of public institutions like the public library. We still rode in the back of the bus. Greenville was the home of Bob Jones University, which Africans could attend (if they didn’t fraternize with white women) while African Americans could not. If we wanted to play college sports, we either attended a historically black institution or went to schools in the North or West....
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