Donald Trump is fanning the flames of a new controversy with his observation – this time at a North Carolina campaign rally – that African-American communities are "absolutely in the worst shape that they've ever been in before – ever, ever ever." Places like Afghanistan were safer, Trump said at the rally on Tuesday (20 September) that was attented almost exclusively by whites.

He was criticised by President Obama for overlooking the far darker days of slavery in America and North Carolina's history of Jim Crow segregation laws.

Trump told the rally in Kenansville: "You take a look at the inner cities, you get no education, you get no jobs, you get shot walking down the street. They're worse, I mean honestly, places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities."

President Obama said during the Congressional Black Caucus gala in Washington after an earlier similar remark by Trump: "You may have heard Hillary's opponent in this election say that there's never been a worse time to be a black person. I mean, he missed that whole civics lesson about slavery or Jim Crow."

Trump has been roundly criticised in his remarks for stereotypically portraying black communities as existing in a dark hole of free-for-all violence that he will "fix" – blind to countless successful black and integrated communities.

Trump said: "And I say to the African-American communities, and I think it's resonating, because you see what's happening with my poll numbers with African-Americans. They're going, like, high."

The candidate continues to poll in the single digits with the African-American community, sometimes as low as 1%.

He has, however, been making an attempt to reach out to American blacks, but not with much success, notes CNN.

He was recently pulled up short by a female pastor in Flint, Michigan, who stopped him from attacking Clinton during his appearance at her church. He later derided the Rev Faith Green Timmons on national TV as a "nervous mess."

Obama referred to Trump as "somebody who has fought against civil rights and fought against equality and who has shown no regard for working people most of his life."

On Trump's quest to win over African-American voters, Obama quipped: "Well, we do have challenges, but we're not stupid."