The results are in. Despite criticism, the inclusion of Louis Farrakhan with Alabama Democrats on a tour to rally support for federal preclearance obligations of the Voting Rights Act brought warm accolades from those at the rally. The Birmingham News reports:
“What I know is Minister Farrakhan will give us words of wisdom and true guidance and words to unite people,” said Brenda Beyah, a new resident of Birmingham. “I would like to see those who are meant to be here to come and fellowship with one another.”
Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford at the Birmingham rally told gatherers that Farrakhan is a strong leader among African-Americans. Farrakhan is the “only black man in America who was able to bring more than a million black men to the nation’s capital,” Ford said.
Gregory Jones, assistant to Birmingham Mayor William Bell, said the city’s top leader could not attend today’s rally because his mother is in the hospital. “The City of Birmingham stands firmly in support of Section 5,” Jones told the crowd. Jones noted support for Farrakhan’s visit to the city for the rally. “For Mr. Farrakhan to lend his name and credibility to this cause is very, very important to us,” he said.
Marion Nu’Man, who lives in Birmingham, sat in the shade by the fountain in Kelly Ingram Park to await Farrakhan’s speech. “I think all so-called religions and knowledgeable people are looking for the Jesus,” she said. “Today they will be able to see him.”
Not everyone was impressed with the racist anti-Semite appearing at a rally to support Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act:
“Yet, there was Farrakhan, a man who openly compares Jews to Satan, speaking not too far away from a tree planted in the park commemorating Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who perished in the Holocaust whose diary has inspired millions,” Richard Friedman wrote.
Update: Headline in the Montgomery Advertiser:
Louis Farrakhan blasts Jews and whites
Nation of Islam leader speaks at rally for Voting Rights Act