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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — In the city where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, a once-unbeatable former mayor wants the Democratic congressional primary to be a referendum on race.

Willie Herenton is accusing white two-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of “trying to act black.” He tells voters in this majority-black city that they “need to come off that Cohen plantation and get on the Herenton freedom train.”

But President Barack Obama has endorsed Cohen, who has an “A” rating from the NAACP and has built support in the black community by supporting civil rights legislation and bringing much-needed federal funding to Memphis schools and hospitals.

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