A coalition of civil rights leaders have gathered in Jackson discussing their battle to ensure voting rights for all Americans. MPB's Daniel Cherry has more.

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Civil Rights Leaders Discuss Voting Rights

By Daniel Cherry | Published 09 May 2012 09:04pm | comments

A coalition of civil rights leaders have gathered in Jackson discussing their battle to ensure voting rights for all Americans. MPB's Daniel Cherry has more.

As Mississippi elections officials work to implement a Voter ID system, many like Derrick Johnson, President of the Mississippi NAACP say the conversation today is similar to that of the 60s.

"There's a direct parallel, in terms of the work to gain access. A direct parallel in terms of devices being used. What before we called poll taxes and literacy tests, we call voter ID."

A group of former civil rights leaders gathered in Jackson yesterday to discuss the enforcement provision of the Voting Rights Act. John Doer is former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights with the U.S. Department of Justice. Doer is known for confronting former Mississippi Governor, Ross Barnett, for blocking James Meredith from entering the University of Mississippi. Doer also wrote parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but he believes the country has changed so he's not passing judgement on Mississippi's Voter ID law.

"I don't know who's right. I don't know the facts, and I suspect that there's some right and some wrong on both sides."

The former civil rights leaders acknowledge Mississippi has made significant progress. Bob Moses, former Student Non-Violent Christian Coalition field organizer for Mississippi, opposes Voter ID, but he thinks the conversation should change to solving education disparities across the nation.

"I think we're not going to get out of this until we get to the level of a constitutional protection that says, 'Look. Every child in America child in the county has the right to a quality public school education.'"

The conversation will continue today at Tougaloo College where leaders will discuss the economy's affect on the African American population.

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