Rev. Jesse Jackson says President Barack Obama needs to call for a federal jobs program and new guarantees for voting rights when he honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Jackson told attendees at a National Urban League summit that a legislative package from the president could advance King's ideals.
"So today's challenges, I think, would be this. One, I've been asked what should the president say on this coming Wednesday? How will he compare with Doctor King? It's a false comparison," Jackson said. "Compare him with presidents, not with preachers. We need from the president not inspiration; we need legislation and appropriation. What do we need now? We need a constitutional right to vote, not just the states' right to vote."
Jackson continued, "What do we need now? We need a war on poverty. In 31 cities, black joblessness is above 40 percent, and six above 50 percent. So, in New York, where black joblessness is above 50 percent, it should be 'stop and employ' not 'stop and frisk'."
Also among those addressing the National Urban League Friday were the parents of Trayvon Martin.
Obama will mark the 50th anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech with his own address in Washington next week.