WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry says black families should hold Democrats accountable for decades of what he says are unsuccessful anti-poverty programs.

The former Texas governor gave a speech Thursday in Washington that focused on race.

Perry says it’s Republicans who “are truly offering black Americans the hope of a better life.”

Perry is the latest White House hopeful to weigh in on the racial divide — an issue that’s emerged as a central theme in the 2016 campaign.

He’s promoting policies aimed at African-Americans, including education reform and sentencing laws that keep nonviolent drug offenders out of prison.

Perry is among the dozen-plus Republican candidates running for president.

No Republican has won more than 15 percent of the black vote in a presidential election since 1960.

(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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