Former President Jimmy Carter plans to hold a summit in Atlanta this fall to fight what he said was an uptick in racism following President Barack Obama’s presidency.
The Georgia Democrat told The New York Times his summit hopes to heal rifts that erupted among Baptist churches in recent years, adding that the nation “has been reawakened the last two or three years to the fact that we haven’t resolved the race issue adequately.”
He said that Republican animosity toward President Obama had “a heavy racial overtone” and that Donald J. Trump’s surprisingly successful campaign for president had “tapped a waiting reservoir there of inherent racism.”
Mr. Carter said the election of Mr. Obama was a hopeful sign, but he added, “I think there’s a heavy reaction among some of the racially conscious Republicans against an African-American being president.”
He said recent reports showing high unemployment and incarceration rates among black people, “combined with the white police attacks on innocent blacks,” had “reawakened” the country to the realization that racism was not resolved in the 1960s and ’70s.
Carter severed ties with the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000 and, seven years later, started the New Baptist Covenant as a unity movement to bring together black, white and Hispanic churches. The effort has spread to congregations in a handful of cities, including Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of Martin Luther King Jr.