Saturday, February 14, 2004

Senator Frist leads civil rights weekend for fellow senators

"Following a pledge to reach out to black voters, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist led a largely Republican group of senators through the South as they visited sites important to the 1960s civil rights movement."

"Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis, a leader of the civil rights movement, is serving as tour guide during the three-day trip, which also includes stops in Selma, Birmingham and Nashville, Tenn."

"'The civil rights movement transcends party,' Lewis said. 'It's good to have Republican senators here; they will be able to go back and take a message to the president and their colleagues.'"

"The trip was organized by the Faith and Politics Institute, a Washington-based nonprofit that seeks to build bridges between people of different backgrounds."

"An analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank focused on black issues, said Republicans want to win over minorities because black and Hispanic populations are growing much more quickly than white Americans."

"The Republican senators on the trip were Sam Brownback of Kansas, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Mike DeWine of Ohio, George Allen of Virginia, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Sessions."

"Jon Corzine of New Jersey was the only Democratic senator on the trip."

"Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee planned to join the group Sunday in Nashville, site of lunch counter sit-in protests against segregation."

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