Civil Rights Leaders Talk Jobs With Obama
President promises to improve economy for black Americans
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2010 9:03 AM CST
Rev. Al Sharpton and National Urban League president Marc Morial, right, talk outside the West Wing following their meeting with President Obama Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – President Obama met with some of the country’s top civil rights leaders last night, laying out his plans to improve the economic conditions that have sent black unemployment soaring to 16.5%. Al Sharpton, NAACP head Benjamin Jealous, and National Urban League chief Marc Morial all braved the snow for the meeting, and emerged convinced that Obama understood their concerns.

“He was very clear that he was not going to engage in any race-based programs,” said Sharpton, but Obama clearly “felt the gravity of the problem” facing poor Americans of all colors. “The reality is that poverty has been greatly democratized by this recession,” said Jealous. Notably absent from the meeting was Jesse Jackson, who’s been especially critical of the president. A Jackson spokesman tells the Washington Post that he wasn’t invited.