Black Leaders Pin High Hopes on New AG

Civil rights advocates see opportunity for change under Holder
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2009 9:23 AM CST

(Newser) – For decades, black men have been arrested, convicted, and sentenced to execution at disproportionate rates. Now, with the appointment of the country's first African-American attorney general, black leaders are hoping Eric Holder will help the Justice Department reform what they see as a broken system. "The most important thing is that we have a person who gets it," NAACP president Benjamin Jealous tells the Washington Post.

Issues under some semblance of Justice Department control include racial profiling and discrimination in employment and housing, and civil rights leaders are eager for the new AG to move quickly. Although Holder has refrained from promising seismic changes, he has said that his family's experiences with segregation and his own life will give "a unique perspective to the department."