'Apartheid remains' in US, Jackson says

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Rev. Jesse Jackson said Sunday apartheid still exists in the United States, as he reflected on Nelson Mandela’s effect on American politics.

“Apartheid remains. Apartheid gaps in poverty, healthcare and education. We’re in the middle of the end of the apartheid struggle now, but it’s just changed phases,” he said on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.” 

“For almost 30 years, we had a lead jump on the right to vote and used that right to vote to empower allies in South Africa,” Jackson said.

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Jackson is expected to attend the Dec. 15 funeral for the former South African president, who died late Thursday in Johannesburg at 95.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are going to attend the national memorial service for Mandela on Tuesday in South Africa. Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura have reportedly accepted an invitation to accompany the Obamas on Air Force One.

Former Presidents Carter, Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are also expected to attend memorial events.

Rev. Al Sharpton said on "Meet the Press" people are trying to “sugarcoat” the U.S.'s initial indifference to Mandela’s efforts and the African National Congress. Many communist countries embraced them, he said.

“This country did not and fought that. I think that for us now to sugarcoat that is a betrayal of history. We chose sides; we chose the wrong side,” Sharpton said.

Once the U.S. did back Mandela, Sharpton said, “that set the stage for Mandela to evolve."