Federal Judge Backs Alabama Voter ID Law, African Children's Choir Comes to Alabama

Feb 19, 2016

African Children's Choir

A federal judge says he will uphold Alabama’s photo ID requirement for voters in the upcoming primary elections.

U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler denied a preliminary injunction sought by groups challenging the state law requiring voters to present photo identification. The groups had asked the judge to expand the state's alternative identification process so people without a photo ID could vote by presenting other documents or identification.

Coogler says he would not implement a backdoor method to effectively do away with the photo identification requirement. He also says the plaintiffs failed to offer a convincing reason why obtaining a valid photo ID is an undue burden for anyone.

The Greater Birmingham Ministries and the NAACP filed a lawsuit late last year arguing the law disproportionately hurts poor and minority voters.

Alabamians will get the chance to hear unique voices from Africa this weekend.

The African Children’s Choir will be performing in Montgomery tonight, with two more shows in Birmingham on Sunday. The choir is made up of children age seven to eleven. They are selected from families who are unable to provide education or daily needs.

Sarah Lidstone is the North American Choir Operations Manager for the African Children’s Choir. She says when the children return from their tour, they are sponsored in education all the way through college.

“So our goal is to create children that are causing change for the better in their own communities. So we want to enable them to do that and to work with the children that don’t get the resources that others do. So we want to work with those who do really need it the most. One of the main ways that we do that is through education.”

The concert includes African music as well as gospels and spirituals sung in English.

The movie “Race” comes out in theaters today. It tells the story of legendary Olympic track and field athlete Jesse Owens. APR's MacKenzie Bates visited Owens's hometown of Oakville where a museum stands in his honor.

Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympic Games. The movie highlights his struggle as an African American athlete and his accomplishments in then Nazi Germany.

Melody Weiler is a high school student from suburban Atlanta. She is writing a paper on Owens for Black History Month and her family drove the 250 miles to visit the museum…

“I just think he was a really exemplary runner and I think he’s really a great model of what American athletics should be. He’s pretty much the definition of the sport.”

The museum opened in 1996, the same year the Olympics were in Atlanta. The Olympic Torch went through Oakville to honor Owens.