11/21/2019 -- Atlanta, Georgia -- Students and supporters cheer as Sen. Elizabeth Warren expresses her appreciation for Historically Black Colleges and Universities during her campaign stop at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Thursday, November 21, 2019. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Photo: Alyssa Pointer/alyssa.pointer@ajc.com
Photo: Alyssa Pointer/alyssa.pointer@ajc.com

RECAP: Candidate events focus on Atlanta’s black voters

The Democratic presidential debate is over. The 2020 spotlight on Atlanta was not.

White House hopefuls hosted a half-dozen events in Atlanta on Thursday, each catering to African American voters. 

Photos: Presidential candidates make their pitch in Atlanta

Related: Democratic candidates take an extra day in Atlanta to woo black voters

Read below for our live updates from throughout the day:

7:39 p.m.: Warren was eventually able to return to her prepared remarks and delivered them to an energetic crowd.

Evoking the names of Stacey Abrams and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and the plight of domestic workers, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren delivered a fiery speech at Clark Atlanta University that tapped into the city’s rich history of civil rights while promoting what will prove to be a key demographic – black women. 

“As a white woman, I will never fully understand the discrimination, pain and harm that black Americans have experienced just because of the color of their skin. I’m not here to tell you about a painful history that black Americans experienced and know all too well. I am here today for a different reason,” Warren said. “I’m here to make a commitment: When I am president of the United States, the lessons of black history will not be lost. Those lessons will live in every part of my presidency – and I will ask you to hold me accountable for that promise every single day.” 

More on her speech here.

6:50 p.m.: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was repeatedly interrupted by black-clad protesters who chanted “we want to be heard” as she tried to tell the story of Atlanta domestic workers who went on strike in the 1880s.

The protesters, who oppose Warren’s stance on charter schools, forced Warren to stop her address several times until her ally, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, urged them to quiet. “We are going to hear their story,” she said. 

The back-and-forth marred a celebratory atmosphere for Warren, who took the stage and doled out hugs to supporters to a fired-up crowd that  went wild when she made this request: “Can we just hear it for America’s HBCUs?” .


 

5:49 p.m.: We are starting to learn more about the program Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has planned. Before she speaks, there will be a tribute to Clark Atlanta University student Alexis Crawford. Crawford’s roommate and roommate’s boyfriend are accused of killing her, and her funeral was held last week.

U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is scheduled to introduce Warren, a senator from Massachusetts.

During her speech, Warren will talk about her economic platform and how she hopes to level the playing field for marginalized communities and rebuild America’s middle class.

All that is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. But for right now the room is still filling and there is lots of dancing in the crowd.


 

5:14 p.m.: People began lining up outside Clark Atlanta University’s Epps Gymnasium hours before doors opened for Elizabeth Warren’s rally tonight.

Now, the gym is filling quickly. 

The event is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.


 

2:04 p.m.: In a wide ranging speech that focused on his updated HBCU policy, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders outlined his vision for America. He talked about cancelling student debt, increasing teacher pay, making healthcare free and universal to all and reforming the criminal justice system.

“Today I welcome you to a political revolution,” Sanders, of Vermont, said. “It is a political revolution which will defeat the most dangerous president in American history. But it is more than that. It is a revolution that will bring millions of people together to create an economy and a government that works for all of us and not just wealthy campaign contributors.”

Read more here.

1:11 p.m.: Sen. Bernie Sanders’ is heralding his HBCU policy at today’s rally at Morehouse College. Hundreds of people have surrounded the Martin Luther King Jr. statue on campus where the rally is being held.


 

Bernie’s plan includes additional funding for HBCUs, as well as increasing Pell grants and work study for students.

Earlier this week, Mayor Pete Buttigieg touted his own HBCU plan at an event that was also held on Morehouse’s campus.

Later today, Elizabeth Warren will host a rally at Clark Atlanta University that sits adjacent to Morehouse on the Atlanta University Center campus.

12:15 p.m.: A crowd of hundreds gathered at Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign rally at Morehouse College, including 7th District candidate Nabilah Islam and Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry, a contender for U.S. Senate.

Terry formally endorsed Sanders at a Wednesday event, and showed up to Sanders’ rally proudly wearing a button for the 2020 candidate. 


 

12:01 p.m.:  Democratic presidential candidates texted some of the 313,000 people Thursday whose voter registrations could be canceled in Georgia, emphasizing their support for voting rights a day after their debate in Atlanta.  

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar participated in a phone and text bank to prevent dormant voter registrations from being canceled next month. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang was also expected to attend.   

They joined Stacey Abrams and her Fair Fight voting rights group at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor.

Read more here.

11:30 a.m.: Crowds are gathering at Morehouse College ahead of Bernie Sanders’ rally. It is scheduled to begin around 1 p.m.


 

10:45 a.m.: In a crowded banquet room at Paschal’s Restaurant, the Rev. Al Sharpton and clergy members from his National Action Network organization held court Thursday with five presidential candidates who took turns at the lectern promising to embrace civil rights as a central cause. 

 But one of the most interesting exchanges came just before Mayor Pete Buttigieg took the microphone. As he introduced the candidate, Sharpton pushed back on the narrative that black homophobia accounts for Buttigieg’s struggle to attract African-American support. 

Read more here.

10:17 a.m.: There is standing-room only at the Black Women for Kamala Harris breakfast at the Westin in downtown Atlanta.

U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, an Ohio Democrat, warmed up the crowd by talking about why she has decided to endorse the U.S. senator from California.

“She is smart, she knows government,” Fudge said. “She is tough. She can stand toe-to-toe with Donald Trump.” 

Harris took the stage and answered questions from a moderator about what she is doing to improve her standing in the polls, including among African-American voters. Harris said she has to both introduce herself to people who have never heard of her and combat skepticism from those who aren’t sure if she will be able to beat Trump if she is on the ballot in 2020.

“This is not a new conversation for me,” Harris said. “This is the conversation I have heard in every campaign I have had and -- hear the operative word -- won.”

9:00 a.m.: Multiple candidates were scheduled to speak this morning at the National Action Network breakfast. This is the civil rights organization founded by Rev. Al Sharpton.


 

6 a.m.: It’s going to be a jam-packed day. In the morning, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris will be feted at a breakfast honoring black women, while several candidates are set to speak at Paschal’s Restaurant for an event organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

At least four presidential candidates will join Stacey Abrams at Ebenezer Baptist Church to call voters who have been stricken from Georgia’s voter rolls.

And two other contenders - U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren - have events at the Atlanta University Center. Find out more details here.

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