Expected Sharpton visit stirs controversy - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Expected Sharpton visit stirs controversy

Reverend Dwight Montgomery proudly wears a shirt featuring Martin Luther King Junior. A man he believes would never rally against changing the names of confederate parks.

"I think that Dr. King would speak out against black on black crime and kids wearing pants on they behind," says Montgomery.

Not to mention education and the battle to save TennCare he adds.

"If I thought that changing the names would solve these other ills, then I'd be leading the march," says Montgomery.

But Montgomery plans to miss Reverend Al Sharpton's weekend visit to Forrest Park. Sharpton plans to headline a rally organized by Rainbow/PUSH.

It's hard to say how many people might show up Saturday to see Sharpton. But the SCLC is not the only local civil rights group planning on not being there.

"What they're doing Saturday, we've already done--but then more pressing issues came along and we said, hey, let's spend our energies somewhere else," says Johnnie Turner, Executive Director of the Memphis NAACP.

While Turner does support re-naming Jeff Davis, Confederate, and Forrest Parks, she agrees that most Memphians have more pressing concerns..

"Folks are worried about where the next meal is coming from, how can I pay my rent, how can I pay my MLGW bill," lists Turner.

She says solving those problems will take more than a visit from Al Sharpton.

Our phone calls to Rainbow/PUSH president LaSimba Gray went unreturned Wednesday.

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