The Crusade of Al Sharpton’s Brother: As Pastor Kenneth Glasgow campaigns to give ex-felons the vote, he could face prison himself

The Intelligencer

The last Sunday in March, Kenneth Glasgow had planned to be in Atlanta strategizing with other southern organizers about how to help pass the Florida ballot measure that would result in the most sweeping restoration of voting rights for felons in well over a century. A former inmate himself who’d served 14 years for robbery and drug crimes, Glasgow is a pioneer of the felony-enfranchisement movement — an Alabama minister and activist whose righteous indignation alone usually exceeds the energy of three people.

At the very least, he needed to be back in Georgia by Monday morning to train people from across the country how to go into jails and register inmates to vote. But now he was preoccupied by his other job. “Pastor Kenny,” as he’s known around his hometown of Dothan, is a sort of social-worker-in-chief for the most down-and-out people in one of the more down-and-out places in the Deep South, a mostly black section of the city called “the Bottom.” As it happens, he’s also the half-brother andnephew of the Reverend Al Sharpton, a fraught piece of family history that has shaped his life for ill and for good.

Similar laws stripped 6.1 million current and formerly incarcerated Americans of their right to vote in the 2016 election — more than 280,000 of them in Alabama — making felony disenfranchisement “by far the biggest form of voter suppression we have,” says Danielle Lang, an attorney with the D.C.-based Campaign Legal Center. Those numbers have increased fivefold since the explosion in incarceration that began in the 1970s. Today blacks are disenfranchised at four times the rate of everyone else, according to the Sentencing Project.

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