The leader of the Nation of Islam Louis Farrakhan will be in Central Alabama next week bringing awareness to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a section some alabama politicians are trying to do away with.
Section 5 requires states with a history of discrimination and oppression - go through the Justice Department before making any changes to their voting practices. But now, some Alabama lawmakers are saying it's no longer needed.
Shelby County, Alabama has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to throw out section 5, with the case reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. Now, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is speaking out against the section while it's pending in court, outraging some Alabama lawmakers and activists.
"He needs to recuse himself and his vote should not count and we are asking folks everywhere to ask him to recuse himself," says Senator Hank Sanders.
To bring awareness to section 5 and in protest of Justice Scalia's remarks, state leaders have organized a caravan ride with Louis Farrakhan heading it. Though not everyone thinks the controversial leader should be at the forefront. The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed the Nation of Islam as a hate group and although they do support section 5, they do not support Louis Farrakhan and many of his teachings.
"We would call this black supremacist thinking," says Lecia Brooks, outreach director of the Southern Poverty Law Center. "Just as we identify white supremacists, we're also bound to identify anyone who demeans or denigrates another group of people based on their characteristics."
But some say the controversy surrounding Farrakhan is without merit.
"I've been in Alabama for 47 years," says Selma attorney Faya Rose Toure'. "Of all the divisive white people, all kinds of division, racial division, injustice, including Goverrnor Wallace....I've never heard anyone say he's a divisive leader."
And some residents say Farrakhan will only bring attention to section 5, which is the goal.
"Its going to bring more attention to it and then Farrakhan is who Louis Farrakhan is," says Montgomery resident Louis Harris. "He stands for what he stands for. It takes a man to stand for something."
"It's not a big issue about him being Islam, says resident Donald Taylor. "The issue is - what is he talking about, what is he going to be discussing?"
On June 14th, the caravan will start in Birmingham, traveling to Shelby County, Selma and then to the steps of the capitol in Montgomery. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on section 5 is expected any day now.