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Thu Jan 19, 2017, 05:01 PM

Confirmation Of Sessions Would Be An Assault On Voting Rights

By Kristen Clarke
Jan, 18, 2017

... After passage of the Voting Rights Act, Turner, his wife and other local leaders were working across the state to promote voter registration and mobilization. In fact, Turner became known as “Mr. Voter Registration,” and is credited with helping increase Black voter registration rates across the Black Belt.

Jeff Sessions, then U.S. Attorney, opened up an investigation into the activities of the activists. Hundreds of people were interrogated by federal investigators. In the end, close to two dozen Black residents, many of them elderly, were rounded up by the busload and forced to testify under oath before a grand jury . .

As many proclaimed at the outset of the investigation, the charges were baseless and racially inspired. Federal District Judge Emmett Cox dismissed 50 counts against the defendants due to lack of evidence before the case even went to trial. Ultimately, the jury very quickly acquitted the Marion Three of every single outstanding charge.

But the stain of those prosecutions lingered on, driving fear across minority communities ...


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