By Ben Evans
Washington, D.C. (AP)

A small group of powerful House Democrats has asked the Justice Department to investigate whether American Indian tribes are engaging in modern-day racial segregation against black “freedmen” who are descendants of former tribal slaves.

The lawmakers, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers of Michigan and former civil rights leader John Lewis of Georgia, say five major tribes have been systematically removing freedmen from their membership or relegating them to second-class status without voting rights and other benefits.