Civil Rights Act


Today is the annual Martin Luther King Jr., holiday. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay ponders what we can do to advance King’s legacy in Rhode Island.

The great civil rights leader’s legacy will be celebrated across  Rhode Island today in song, sermon and remembrance.  Voices will echo with the strains of James Weldon Johnson’s `Lift Every Voice and Sing’ and that iconic anthem of the civil rights movement, `We Shall Overcome.’

The U.S. Justice Department is suing the state and the state corrections department, claiming employment discrimination. The Justice Department claims employment practices for hiring entry-level corrections officers violate the Civil Rights Act.

The lawsuit challenges the hiring practice at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections requiring applicants to take a written and video exam. The Justice Department claims that those exams do not help identify qualified candidates, but instead disproportionately screen out black and Hispanic candidates.