Attorney General Eric Holder delivered the keynote address at a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Conference of National Black Churches.
The day also featured panels on the state of voting rights, protecting a church's tax exempt status and energizing constituents and congregants to vote.
The Attorney General has announced that he will vigorously defend the Voting Rights Act of 1965, including the Section 5 provision that Southern states or those that have historically disenfranchised black voters must clear any changes to voting law or electoral systems with the Justice Department.
Many states have passed voter ID laws recently, requiring voters to have a state-issued photo ID, like a driver's license. Black leaders have voiced worry that these laws may disenfranchise urban and low-income African Americans who are less likely to have a driver's license than their white counterparts.
Energizing the black vote may be especially important this year. African-American voters led President Obama to capture the electoral votes in North Carolina and Virginia in 2008 and will be key to his re-election or defeat in 2012.