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Civil Rights Leaders Downplay NAACP Tea Party Resolution

Reverend Al Sharpton, NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous and Reverend Jesse Jackson. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – At the NAACP convention yesterday, Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson tried to shift the conversation away from alleged racism in the Tea Party movement.

Tuesday's vote to condemn the so-called "racist elements" of the Tea Party movement elicited a firestorm of criticism from Tea Party supporters. They denied the charge and said the NAACP's resolution is racially divisive. At a press conference yesterday, Reverend Al Sharpton said the problem isn't racist individuals or signs at rallies.

"The philosophy of the Tea Party is anti-civil rights, because they're promoting pro-state's rights on immigration, pro-state's rights across the board, which will turn back the clock of civil rights," Sharpton said.

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said the Tea Party resolution was only one of about 75 that the group voted on this week, and that it's more important to focus on issues like unemployment, education and criminal justice.

Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.
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