National Civil Rights Activist Blasts Memphis. Mayor Says She’s Wrong

Local News

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is not going to be writing any fan letters to national civil rights activist Angela Rye after her Saturday speech.

It was a speech where she told a crowd at the Orpheum theater, “This is not the Memphis Dr. King would have appreciated and talked about going to the promised land.” 

Rye at times cried, tears of frustration she called them, over what she thinks is the lack of progress on civil rights in Memphis.

Mayor Strickland disagrees.

“I’m proud of Memphis,” Strickland told reporters. “Memphis is a great city, and the response I’m getting the last two days tells me the vast majority of people are proud of their city.”

The reaction Angela Rye got from the Saturday crowd at the Orpheum shows there are a lot of people who think Memphis could do a lot better. She talked about police and education, saying Memphis spends more on officers than students.

“The city of Memphis spends more on police than education,” she said, adding “… there is a lot of surveillance on activists and grass roots leaders, eerily familiar to what Dr. King went through with J. Edgar Hoover.”

Before the speech, Rye met with local activist groups including Black Lives Matter, where she was told about what they consider the problems of the city.

Mayor Strickland says she’s wrong.

True, Memphis City Government does not fund education any more, but Memphis taxpayers do through their Shelby County taxes.

“If you’re talking about city government itself,” the Mayor said, “… city government itself has never put more money into schools than police. Never.”

(READ STRICKLAND’S NOTE ON SATURDAY’S EVENT HERE.)

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