Protests mount: Jeff Sessions threatens 60 years of civil rights progress, Rev. Jackson says

By Monique Jones

The Birmingham Times

Alabama NAACP state conference President Bernard Simelton (far left) and NAACP National President/CEO Cornell William Brooks (center) were among the protesters who held a sit-in in Sen. Sessions' Mobile, Ala. office. (Twitter)
Alabama NAACP state conference President Bernard Simelton (far left) and NAACP National President/CEO Cornell William Brooks (center) were among the protesters who held a sit-in in Sen. Sessions’ Mobile, Ala. office. (Twitter)

U.S. Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions is “the single biggest threat to 60 years of civil rights and social justice progress,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson in an interview with The Birmingham Times.

“He disagrees with the [1954 Brown v. Board] decision because…it made segregation illegal. He declared the Voting Rights Act an intrusion on states’ rights,” said Jackson in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Jackson is scheduled to speak at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, at 10:45 a.m. in recognition of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Sessions flies in the face of King Jr.’s activism, Jackson said.

“It’s the worst possible reflection upon Donald Trump,” he said. “Some of his appointments, you can debate them, but they go with the territory…but Jefferson Sessions will [act as] a stab to the heart to Dr. King’s work. The right to vote was the crown jewel of our circle.”

Jackson made his comments one day after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) National President/CEO Cornell William Brooks and five other demonstrators, including Alabama NAACP state conference President Bernard Simelton were arrested when they refused to leave after a sit-in at Sessions’ Mobile, Ala. office on Tuesday.

The protests against Sessions will continue, said Jackson.

“We have a right to fight for the right [to vote]. We have a right to protest for the right. He’s [Sessions] the wrong man for that position. He’s not trusted. He’s a threat to progress.”

On Tuesday, the Metro Birmingham NAACP stood in solidarity with Brooks and Simelton.

“As a matter of conscience, the NAACP has chosen not to remain silent on this matter,” the organization said in a press release. “Our main concern is centered around the reality of voter suppression.”

The public is invited to hear Rev. Jackson on Jan. 8. For more information, contact the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Office at 205-251-9402.

CNN and the Associated Press contributed to this report