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In Memphis, Debate over a White Representative

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In Memphis, Debate over a White Representative

U.S.

In Memphis, Debate over a White Representative

In Memphis, Debate over a White Representative

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/14810455/14810433" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Harold Ford Jr.'s decision to vacate his overwhelmingly black Memphis-based congressional district last year to run for the Senate resulted in a hotly contested Democratic primary to succeed him. Several African-Americans — and one white, Steve Cohen — ran. And despite the concerns of many blacks that the large black field could result in Cohen's victory, few were willing to put their ambition behind them.

As expected, Cohen won. Now some African-American ministers are taking aim at Cohen for his support of hate-crimes legislation — implying that a white congressman should not be representing Tennessee's 9th District.

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