Rev. Jesse Jackson weighs in on Charlottesville violence during Memphis visit

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Civil rights legend Reverend Jesse Jackson addressed key issues during his visit to Memphis this weekend.

Jackson led a panel in front of a packed room at the National Civil Rights Museum and talked openly about our society, debated how inclusive it really is, and brainstormed on how to make it better.

Leaders discussed many topics from education to healthcare to the city of Memphis promising to increase contracts for minorities.

But the main focus was the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and where America stands 50 years later.

"We've gone several steps forward and now there's an attempt to take us back," Jackson said. "For example, there was an attempt to remove 25 million from healthcare, but it lost. An attempt to limit the vote, and yet we now see 10 states with automatic voter registration. An attempt to lock immigrants out and yet the courts are protecting us from that. So there is a struggle, there's a tug of war for the soul of America. We must not go back, we must go forward. We must become more inclusive."

WMC Action News 5's Felicia Bolton moderated the event, which you can watch below.

Jackson also shared his thoughts on the unfolding situation in Charlottesville.

He said President Trump needs to take a hard line on condemning the actions of white supremacist hate groups.

"The poverty center in Montgomery, the militias, they are bragging about how they have been emboldened by President Trump's rhetoric," Jackson said. "That's why you had David Duke there today endorsing him."

Jackson also criticized the federal government for diverting resources away from fighting the rise of militant white nationalist hate groups.

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