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TN Politics: "Day Democracy Died" in Tennessee

Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin J. Pearson and Justin Jones held a press conference Monday, April 3, after participating in the gun control protest last week at the Tennessee Capitol.
Blaise Gainey / WPLN News
Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin J. Pearson and Justin Jones held a press conference Monday, April 3, after participating in the gun control protest last week at the Tennessee Capitol.

On Thursday, Tennessee Republicans expelled two Black Democrats from office for what was deemed a breach of decorum. Never in Tennessee history has any lawmaker been purged from government for speaking out of turn.

Political analyst Otis Sanford calls the actions "pure racism," evidenced by the fact that a white Democratic lawmaker who took part in the same demonstration was spared dismissal by Republicans who voted across party lines.

Rep. Justin Pearson (D-Memphis) and Justin Jones (D-Nashville) defended themselves during a hostile hearing, reiterating a call for new gun legislation in the wake of a school shooting in Nashville.

Reporting from the gates of Graceland to the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, Christopher has covered Memphis news, arts, culture and politics for more than 20 years in print and on the radio. He is currently WKNO's News Director and Senior Producer at the University of Memphis' Institute for Public Service Reporting. Join his conversations about the Memphis arts scene on the WKNO Culture Desk Facebook page.