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ICYMI: Black leaders one championed strict drug laws they now seek to dismantle

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A few months after taking office, New York Governor David Paterson stood in a drug treatment center in Queens, and made history.

“And finally today, on this sunny day, in April of 2009, with the stroke of a pen, we will end the regime of the Rockefeller drug laws,” said Paterson, drawing cheers.

With that gesture, New York’s first black governor rolled back the mandatory minimum sentencing laws first passed in 1973 that disproportionately locked up African-American men.

Earlier this week, another black leader, US Attorney General Eric Holder, argued that Rockefeller-style laws should be eased at the federal level as well.

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