MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Reverend Jesse Jackson was in Memphis for Black History Month.
He spoke at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church Sunday morning.
The civil rights leader also held a town hall forum with several panelists, including councilwoman Jamita Swearengen and Shelby County Commissioner Eddie Jones.
As soon as he touched Memphis soil, civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson was pushing for voter registration and participation.
"There are 4 million in the deep south where African-Americans were not registered to vote. However, 2 million people were registered and did not vote," Rev. Jackson said.
Rev. Jackson says not voting is a problem, along with quality healthcare and education. He also addressed systematic racism in the country while at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church. "Our challenge today is not to just admire Dr. King but to follow him. He would be displeased with such racial glorification, white race skin worship. He was fighting for a multi-racial, multicultural big tent America."
He says the recent closing of two Kroger stores will cripple communities.
"Kroger represents jobs, healthcare and food. So if you close three Kroger's, you make it a health desert and a food desert. People can't get to their meds or work."
Now, the civil rights leader has a message for those coming to Memphis to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King for MLK 50. "Don't just admire Dr. King, follow him. Don't make him a modern marble, make him a living soul. We show our love for Dr. King by how we treat the poor and how black and white find common ground."