Historic Voting Rights Trial to Begin

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

For the first time ever, the U.S. Justice Department is using the 1965 Voting Rights Act to allege racial discrimination against whites.

Trial is set to begin Tuesday in a U-S Justice Department lawsuit alleging that defendants violated white voters' rights. The case was filed in U.S. District Court in Meridian in February 2005.

The head of the Democratic Party in Mississippi's rural Noxubee County, Ike Brown, is accused of waging a campaign to defeat white voters and candidates with tactics including intimidation and coercion.

The Justice Department complaint says Brown and those working with him participated in numerous racial appeals during primary and general campaigns and have criticized black citizens for supporting white candidates and for forming biracial political coalitions with white candidates.

Noxubee County, a rural area along the Alabama line named for a Choctaw word meaning "stinking water", has a population of 12,500 people, 69 percent black and 30 percent white.

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