Sanders meets Al Sharpton as he seeks to woo black voters

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders meets with Reverend Al Sharpton at Sylvia's Restaurant on February 10, 2016 in New York City (AFP Photo/Andrew Renneisen)

New York (AFP) - Following his resounding win in the New Hampshire primary, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders met Wednesday with civil rights activist Al Sharpton as he seeks to woo the crucial black vote.

Supporters broke into applause and chanted "Bernie, Bernie" as the Vermont senator arrived at Sylvia's restaurant in New York's Harlem neighborhood, the same soul food eatery where Sharpton met then-candidate Barack Obama during his 2008 campaign.

Sanders told Sharpton, a prominent African-American civil rights leader, that high voter turnout will be crucial in Nevada and South Carolina, the next states in the US presidential nomination process, according to an excerpt of their conversation broadcast on MSNBC.

Both states have significantly more black voters than the first two states in the nomination process, Iowa and New Hampshire.

In the southern state of South Carolina, more than half of Democrats who voted in 2008 were black.

"I think we have the issues, we have the agenda, we have the ground troops to rally the people of Nevada and South Carolina," Sanders said in the clip, adding that his economic and social justice policies will resonate with black voters.

"My concern is that in January of next year, for the first time in American history, a black family will be moving out of the White House," Sharpton said.

"I do not want black concerns to be moved out with them. We must be front and center and not marginalized. And Senator Sanders coming here this morning further makes it clear that we will not be ignored," he said.

Sharpton said he would meet with Sanders' opponent Hillary Clinton in the coming days and then announce his endorsement.

Sanders took about 60 percent of the vote on Tuesday in New Hampshire, which neighbors Vermont, but he is less known in South Carolina than Clinton. Polls in late January showed the former secretary of state leading there by 30 points.