Rev. Jesse Jackson discusses city’s progress with minority contracting

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson is wrapping up his visit to Memphis with a visit to discuss minority businesses with the mayor’s office and other city leaders Monday.

Overall, he says the city has made enormous progress, and he was very complimentary of city officials.

They report an uptick in contracts with minority and women owned business since Mayor Jim Strickland took office last year. They say they’ve increased that share of the city’s spending by 60 percent, which means it’s gone from about 13 to 20 percent.

Jackson says he wants Memphians to feel confident in the signs of progress.

“The impact of our presence has been felt. The mayor has a very professional staff. We want to make sure people feel progress is being made. In this phase of our struggle, with Dr. King 50 yrs later is access to capital and technology.”

It’s worth noting city officials say the national average for a city’s contract percentage with minorities and women is actually 30 percent, so officials say they’re still pushing toward that goal.

Jackson says he plans to check back in about a month. He’s also planning a tri-state summit to address issues facing the entire Delta region.