Lawsuit Pushes for Mississippi District That Dilutes Black Voting Power to be Redrawn

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Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A state Senate district in Mississippi dilutes the Black voting power and should be redrawn, three African-American plaintiffs say in a federal lawsuit filed Monday.

The suit asks a judge to order legislators to reconfigure the district before the 2019 state elections.

District 22 has a 51 percent black voting-age population, and the suit says it lacks “real electoral opportunity” for African-Americans.

“The lack of opportunity is the result of white bloc voting and lower African-American turnout that are vestiges of the historical discrimination and extreme socio-economic disparities that have been inflicted upon African-Americans over a long period of time,” the lawsuit says.

The district has been represented since January 2004 by Republican Sen. Eugene “Buck” Clarke of Hollandale, who is white and is chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

The district is more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) long, stretching through parts of six counties — Bolivar, Humphreys, Sharkey, Washington, Yazoo and Madison. It goes from the impoverished Delta flatlands down into the affluent Jackson suburbs.

Clarke said Monday that he had not read the lawsuit, but all of Mississippi’s legislative districts were approved in 2012 by the Justice Department under then-President Barack Obama.

“Here’s the problem: The Delta’s losing population,” Clarke told The Associated Press on Monday.

He said changing one legislative district would affect others around it.

“You can’t just move one little line somewhere,” said Clarke, who has not decided whether he will seek re-election in 2019.

The lawsuit says District 22 could be redrawn to have about a 60 percent black voting age population, and “one or two adjacent districts” would have to be changed.

Mississippi’s population is nearly 38 percent black. The lawsuit says the state’s voting age population is at least 35 percent black, while African-Americans hold 25 percent of seats in the state Senate — 13 seats of 52.

The lawsuit says no African-American candidate has been elected to the Mississippi Senate in a district with a 51 percent black voting age population. One current African-American senator is from a district with a 55 percent black population, while all others are from districts that are at least 61 percent black, the suit says.

One plaintiff is Joseph Thomas of Yazoo City, who served in the state Senate from 2004 to 2008 in a district adjoining Clarke’s. More of Yazoo County was added to Clarke’s district after the 2010 Census, and Thomas ran against Clarke in 2015. Clarke won with nearly 54 percent of the vote.

By Associated Press

Posted by The NON-Confromist

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Study: South should spend on schools, train homegrown talent

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As teachers in multiple states protest for better pay, a new study warns that the fast-growing South region must invest more in public schools and higher education to ensure its homegrown talent shares in its economic prosperity.

The State of the South 2018 report, released Tuesday, found that 13 states across the region have failed to adequately invest in public schools, higher education and other resources to prepare the next generation of workers. At the same time, the region has relied heavily on an influx of newcomers with college degrees to fill higher-paying jobs.

Those discrepancies indicate that the region’s commitment to improving public schools and higher education has eroded since the Great Recession that started in 2007, the study said. Eight out of 10 southern children are educated in public schools, yet “a decade of budgetary austerity has left most states with a lower relative level of public investment in public schools and higher education than before the Great Recession,” according to the report.

More from WRAL.com

Posted by Libergirl

Judge blocks Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks

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A law in Mississippi that bans women from receiving abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy was temporarily blocked Tuesday by a federal judge.

The Associated Press reported that U.S District Judge Carlton Reeves granted a temporary restraining order on Tuesday. It was sought by the state’s only clinic that offers abortions.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed the bill — the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban — into law earlier this week.

The law bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, down from a 20-week restriction already on Mississippi’s books.

 

More from The Hill

Posted by Libergirl

Miss. Historians: Confederate Emblem Is a ‘Symbol of Racial Terror’ and Should Come Off State Flag

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Historians in Mississippi say the Confederate battle emblem is a “symbol of racial terror” that needs to be stripped from the state flag.

Thirty-four professors released a statement this week saying they expect questions from students about the recent white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Va., where some participants carried the rebel flag.

Mississippi has the last state flag with the Confederate symbol, a red field topped by a blue tilted cross dotted by 13 white stars.

The professors from public and private universities wrote that Mississippi legislators adopted the flag in 1894 to assert white supremacy.

“The threat of racist mob violence has been present throughout American history, and, as seen by the flag-wielding neo-Nazis and racist sympathizers in Charlottesville, the use of Confederate emblems echoes the racist reasoning of whites in Mississippi at the end of the 19th century, who used terror to impose minority rule,” they wrote.

Voters decided to keep the flag in a 2001 referendum. Confederate symbols have come under increasing scrutiny since 2015, when an avowed white supremacist who had posed for photos holding the battle flag killed nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, S.C.

Some Mississippi elected officials, including the Republican speaker of the state House and both of the state’s Republican U.S. senators, have said the state should ditch the current flag and adopt a design that would unify the state, whose population is 38 percent Black.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has said if the design is reconsidered, it should happen in another statewide election. Supporters of the flag say it represents the state’s history.

The professors wrote: “This flag does not reflect the entirety of the state’s history and people. It ignores the reality of the African-American experience, and it limits the scope of what Mississippi has been, is, and can be.”

By Associated Press

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Mississippi man takes Confederate flag fight to high court

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A black Mississippi citizen is taking his case against the state’s Confederate-themed flag to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In papers filed Wednesday, attorneys for Carlos Moore said lower courts were wrong to reject his argument that the flag is a symbol of white supremacy that harms him and his young daughter by violating the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection to all citizens.

His attorneys wrote that under the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling against Moore, “a city could adopt ‘White Supremacy Forever’ as its official motto; or a county could incorporate an image of white hooded figures and a noose hanging from a tree into its county seal; or a state could incorporate a Nazi swastika, as an endorsement of Aryan/white supremacy, in its state flag.”

Mississippi’s is the last state flag to feature the Confederate battle emblem. Critics say the symbol is racist. Supporters say it represents history.

Mississippi has used the flag since 1894, displaying its red field and tilted blue cross dotted with 13 white stars in the upper left corner. Voters kept it in a 2001 election.

More from News & Observer

Posted by Libergirl

 

Capital City of Jackson, MS elects Black Mayor!

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He enjoyed his win in the general election for Jackson mayor in the same place he celebrated a landslide victory in the primary a month earlier.

TCL Lumumba Celebration Mayoral Elections

Image: Clarion Ledger

An energized Chokwe Antar Lumumba addressed a room of hundreds of supporters at the King Edward Hotel after defeating eight candidates in the democratic primary in May. But it was Tuesday’s celebration that solidified his position as Jackson’s next mayor.

“I’m really, really, really happy,” Lumumba said just before 9 p.m Tuesday. “At the same time, I don’t know it’s entirely sunk in yet.”

Tuesday’s general election, a ticket including a popular, well-known democrat and five virtually faceless opponents, was not expected to drive the same kind of excitement, or voters, as the primary.

Yet, more than 23,100 Jacksonians voted Tuesday for the 34-year-old defense attorney and son of late-Mayor Chokwe Lumumba — nearly 5,000 more than voted for him in the primary.

More from The Clarion Ledger

Posted by Libergirl

 

Mississippi Accused of Unequal Schooling for Black Students

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Image result for segregation

Image: Think Progress

Mississippi’s leaders are being sued again over school funding, this time by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of four black public school students.

Mississippi is violating the federal law that enabled the state to rejoin the union after the Civil War, a civil rights group alleged Tuesday in a lawsuit over school funding.

The lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of four African-American mothers with children in public elementary schools asks a federal judge to force the state’s leaders to comply with the 1870 law, which says Mississippi must never deprive any citizen of the “school rights and privileges” described in its 1868 constitution.

That law still obligates Mississippi to provide a “uniform system of free public schools” for all children, the SPLC said. Instead, Mississippi has repeatedly watered down education protections in its first post-Civil War constitution ever since, as part of what the lawsuit calls a white supremacist effort to prevent the education of blacks.

“From 1890 until the present day, Mississippi repeatedly has amended its education clause and has used those amendments to systematically and deliberately deprive African Americans of the education rights guaranteed to all Mississippi schoolchildren by the 1868 Constitution,” the suit states.

More from US News

Posted by Libergirl…a product of those segregated Mississippi schools

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