(Photo: Allen Fredrickson/Landov)
Rev. Jesse Jackson is on a mission. The civil rights leader has been traveling around the country meeting with African-American voters and leaders including the Congressional Black Caucus to fight what he believes are attempts to turn back the gains of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
This week Jackson called on the Department of Justice to challenge Michigan’s emergency manager law, which allows the governor to appoint people to take over local governments, strip power from and fire duly-elected local officials and void contracts. Currently, emergency managers are in charge of the financially troubled Benton Harbor and Pontiac, two predominately Black cities; Ecorse, which has a large African-American population and is in economic crisis; and Detroit’s public schools system. Jackson’s argument is that emergency managers are given too much power and usurp officials elected by residents, which in turn disenfranchises voters.
“We have a profound economic crisis in the country and the state,” Jackson said in a radio interview Thursday. “There’s nothing about the economic crisis that should allow one to demolish democracy. The vote remains sacred even in a time of crisis.”