MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's Legislative Black Caucus on Saturday called on U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to cancel a planned appearance at Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery.
State Rep. Alvin Holmes said the school and its principal publicly opposed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Selma-Montgomery march in 1965. Holmes said it was "insulting" to King and civil rights protesters that President Barack Obama's top education aide was scheduled to appear at the school Monday.
"If he doesn't cancel, we're going to picket," Holmes told The Associated Press.
Sandra Abrevaya, a spokeswoman for Duncan, said the agency was not aware of the caucus' request and had no immediate comment.
Duncan is scheduled to meet with teachers and students at the school and march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 45th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," the violent clash between civil rights protesters and state troopers in Selma.
About 200 people marched to the Alabama Capitol on Saturday, in part to commemorate the anniversary. The marchers, joined by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, were also taking to the streets in support of electronic bingo jobs in Alabama, saying the debate was a voting rights issue and a matter of economic justice.
Republican Gov. Bob Riley contends electronic bingo machines are illegal and has forced the closure of nearly all the state's more than 30 casinos. The fight has stirred old civil rights tensions in poor, black areas where officials argue the gambling halls provide needed jobs and tax dollars.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)