Black Leader Accepts Lieberman's Word on Civil Rights Record

A black leader who had accused Sen. Joe Lieberman of lying about his civil rights record said Thursday he accepted Lieberman's word that he marched with 1960s-era activists against segregation.

"It is true that he marched with Dr. King, but I believe Dr. King would be disappointed in his record as a senator over the past 18 years," said Henry E. Parker, a former state treasurer, in a statement released by the campaign of Lieberman's rival Ned Lamont.

"I accept the fact that Senator Lieberman provided documentation that he participated in the civil rights movement in the 60s," added Parker.

Lieberman, locked in an increasingly nasty re-election race, on Wednesday disputed charges by Parker that he had lied about his 1960s activism fighting segregation in the South.

Earlier, the Connecticut Federation of Black Democratic Clubs, which includes 20 clubs across the state, endorsed Lamont and questioned whether Lieberman had marched for civil rights. Lamont attended the event.

Lieberman's campaign responded by producing a 1963 college newspaper clip that cites Lieberman's reporting from Jackson, Miss., about the arrests of civil rights workers. Lieberman was chairman of the Yale Daily News.

Lieberman said he led a group of Yale students to Mississippi. He also recalled being part of the Washington, D.C., crowd at the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famed "I Have a Dream" speech in August 1963.

"Was I there?" Lieberman said on Wednesday. "You bet I was there."

Lamont's campaign has tried to distance itself from the charges. Campaign manager Tom Swan said Lamont was not questioning Lieberman's civil rights background. However, Lamont's campaign paid for a flier the group distributed at the event.

Lamont captured the Democratic nomination from Lieberman in the August primary. The three-term Democratic senator is running as an independent.