How well-placed Jacob’s optimism is remains to be seen. But on recent development isn’t promising.

On May 21, in New York City, a coalition of human-rights advocates will hold the first anti-slavery conference to take place in this country in 130 years. Bishop Gassis, exiled Sudanese officials, eyewitnesses, and prominent activists from around the world will be among those speaking. Jackson, Robinson, ands Black Caucus chairman Payne (or a caucus proxy) were all invited to attend. At press time, none had accepted the invitation. In lieu of a personal appearance, Payne has send word that he plans to release a statement of support to be read at the conference.

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