Hillary Clinton courts African-American vote at Martin Luther King Jr's church

Clinton praised civil rights lawyers such as Fred D Gray, pictured, for their work in ending racial segregation in the US.Reuters

Hillary Clinton gave a rousing address at the historic church once pastored by Martin Luther King Jr on Tuesday, signalling her growing popularity with African-American voters.

Speaking on the 60th anniversary of Rosa Parks' refusal to stand up on a Montgomery bus for a white passenger – an act of civil disobedience that sparked the US civil rights movement and eventually led to the end of legalised racial segregation in America – Clinton said there was still more to be done to ensure equal opportunities for every citizen.

"Even as we celebrate all that our country has achieved in the past 60 years, we must in keeping with the legacy of those who have gone before look to the future and the work that is left to do," she said, according to Time magazine.

"Our work isn't finished. We do have to pay it forward. There are still injustices perpetrated every day across our country, sometimes in spite of the law, and sometimes, unfortunately, in keeping with it."

Clinton's address, given at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, revealed the way in which she has connected with African-American voters during this presidential race. Polls show that she has broad support among the group, unlike her during last bid for presidency in 2008 which she eventually lost to Barack Obama. According to CNN, African-American voters were responsible for Obama's victory in seven states.

Race relations have proved a significant issue during the run up to the 2016 election, particularly in the wake of last year's Ferguson riots, the shooting at a church in Charleston by a white supremacist and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Racism within the US police force has been raised as a particular concern, and was addressed by Clinton yesterday.

"There is something profoundly wrong when African American men are far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms for doing the same thing as a white man," she said.

"We must strengthen the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve."

She also praised lawyers who took part in the civil rights movement over half a century ago, noting that they "endured death threats and cross burnings. They were reviled by many of their neighbours."

"They didn't back down because they too believed in the Constitution and the rule of law," Clinton added.

Following her address, King's youngest daughter, Rev Bernice King, prayed for the presidential candidate. She asked God to "grant great favour, grace and anointing to Hillary."