First 100 Days: Key Civil Rights Leaders Give Obama 'A', With 'Incompletes' on Grassroots Economics

Hazel Trice Edney | 4/29/2009, 11:42 a.m.

Jealous concludes, €We cannot mortgage the lower class to invest in the middle class. With millions of African-American€s out of work, the President needs to address the issue of poverty. A large number of American€s live on Main Street, however a large number of African-American€s live on Back Street, and the President must continue to offer hope to those aspiring to be in the middle class.€

While many say it€s far too soon to realistically rate the President, they are quick to say what they want more of.

John Payton, director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, applauding Obama€s appointment of Holder, also wants more attention to the impoverished.

€Many inner city communities are in economic and social distress,€ says Payton. €Their public schools are failing to graduate many, in come cases most, of their students. Public housing is in an equally distressed situation. Jobs are being lost; health providers and health insurance are being lost. The criminal justice system is playing an inappropriate role in many of those communities. We need comprehensive programs to address these critical problems.€

Payton says social and civil rights groups must propose policies for corrective action and not stand by and watch.

The greatest help for the administration must be everyone€s patience says Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

€I don€t think you can judge someone after only 100 days. That said, he€s accomplished more in his first quarter than most presidents achieve in their entire first term. He€s focused on creating jobs where we need them and has signed into law a number of backlogged civil rights bills,€ says Henderson. €We didn€t get in the morass we€re in today overnight and we€re not going to get out of it in 100 days or 200 days or even in a year.€
Perhaps Jackson put it in the most succinct nutshell. €We€re better off than we were before he was inaugurated.€