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The National Coalition of Leaders Fight to Save Section Five

Staff Report

State Senator Hank Sanders, Chair of the National Coalition of Leaders to save Section Five, Dr. Joe Reed, Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC), Mayor Johnny Ford of Tuskegee, and other black State leaders, will convene a press conference at 9:00 a.m. Thursday, April 4th, in front of the U.S. Federal Courthouse located at 1 Church Street in Montgomery, in support of a Class Action Civil Rights Law Suit, to be filed on April 4th , the date of Dr. Martin Luther King’s death.  According to Sanders, “We support this law suit because it is a clear example of what can happen to a poor, black county, if Section 5, of the Voting Rights Act is nullified or taken away.”

According to Ford,” We file this suit, “Macon County Plaintiffs”, on the “Death Day” of Dr. King, because Dr. King died fighting for voting rights, and economic rights, and instead of just ‘mourning Dr. King’s memory’, it is more important to ‘move on Dr. King’s memory’; therefore, since we can’t get justice in Alabama State Court, it’s time to move into the United States Federal Court.  That’s the only way black folk have ever been able to get their civil rights down here in Alabama.  That’s what happened in 1965, and here we are in 2013 facing the same struggle.  Dr. King died to give us the vote, now we must file suit in order to keep the vote.”

Dr. Joe Reed, ADC Chair, stated, “We have gotten little support from the Obama Justice Department, and we need their support and help. I hope this Macon County Civil 
Rights Law Suit will bring to the attention of the U. S. Justice Department our plight as black people in 2013, here in Alabama.”

As the result of closing the Bingo Casino at VictoryLand, which was authorized by the vote of Macon County citizens, more than 2,000 jobs have been lost, and millions of dollars have been lost from taxes, and from support of schools, and non- profit charitable organizations. The Macon County Civil Rights Lawsuit is against Governor Robert Bentley, the Attorney General Luther Strange, and other State officials, who have essentially nullified, or ignored the vote of the people for bingo that the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division pre- cleared, thereby authorizing the vote.  Then the Governor allowed the Attorney General to close down VictoryLand without getting permission or pre-clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. You can’t take away a vote of the people unless you have another vote of the people. This was not done.

According to Dr. Charles Steele, CEO of the National SCLC, who also supports the Macon County law suit, stated, “Once the Alabama leaders file their law suit in Federal Court, we invite the leaders to join SCLC in Atlanta, at the grave site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so that we can continue this movement to save Section 5, by laying wreaths at the grave of Dr. King at 1:00 p.m. EST on April 4th. It is time to take this struggle from the “suites to the streets.”

Among the organizations represented on the Coalition of Leaders to Save Section 5 are:  The New South Coalition, The Alabama Democratic Conference, the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus, The World Conference of Mayors, The National Policy Alliance, The National Bar Association, The Judicial Council of The National Bar Association, The Macon County NAACP, The National SCLC.

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