Black Leaders in Jasper Say Racial Tensions Escalating

JASPER, Texas — After the firing of Jasper’s first black police chief, black community leaders in this East Texas town say racial tensions are at "an all-time high." 

"The town of Jasper is sitting on a powder keg,” said Rodney Norsworthy, a pastor at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church. “And someone's already got the match lit."

Last week a newly elected city council voted 4-1 to terminate Rodney Pearson, whose detractors say was never qualified to hold the position. The firing came after a year and a half of political infighting that has torn apart friendships and divided the ...

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