As Southern governors are reopening the region this week, black activists are joining with local and federal lawmakers to sound the alarm about what they see as a looming threat to the Black Belt.

They say the mostly white, male Republicans — who were reluctant to close their states but are now eager to reopen — are effectively issuing a “death sentence” for millions of black Americans who have been disproportionately impacted both economically and medically by the novel coronavirus.

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