John Lewis to Boycott Civil Rights Museum Opening Due to Trump's Attendance

Bennie Thompson

Bennie Thompson

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, the Trump administration blasted Rep. John Lewis' (D-GA) for refusing to accompany Trump to the opening of a civil right museum, suggesting it was disrespectful to civil rights leaders.

At the invitation of Gov. Phil Bryant, President Donald Trump, will attend at the ceremony, an invitation that has drawn sharp criticism from civil rights groups and others who believe Trump's views and actions on race diminish the ceremonies.

"America can't really turn a corner with regards to its racist and violent past and present until the South, and particularly a state like MS, confronts it - and confronts it unflinchingly", Glaude said.

The two said all Mississippians and Americans should visit the museum, but only after Trump leaves.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thompson and Lewis' announcement.

Lewis was one of the original Freedom Riders, a primary organizer of the March on Washington, and famously had his skull fractured while leading a civil rights march in Selma, Alabama in 1965. White House officials confirmed this week that he had accepted the invitation.

The Mississippi museum joins several others focused on civil rights: the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta; the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee; the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama; Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama. The NAACP has also said that it does not want Trump there.

"This is not a place for cheap political tricks".

"I'm the same age as Trump".

Trump's campaign message to the black Americans consisted of telling them they have "no health care, no education, no anything", calling their lives "a total catastrophe", and saying their communities are in "worst shape they've ever been in before". "If he could, he would wipe all us right off the map".

Princeton University chair of African American Studies and, Eddie S. Glaude Jr noted that "Mississippi was ground zero" for the civil rights movement. "He has created a commission to reinforce voter suppression, refused to denounce white supremacists, and overall, has created a racially hostile climate in this nation".

Lewis and Thompson, both Democratic leaders, had planned to attend Saturday.

Jeff Steinberg is thefounder of the Sojourn to the Past, a program that educates children about the Civil Rights movement, and is attending the opening Saturday.

"For me, it is not political, it is about this person in particular, who is divisive and I think has many, many racial tendencies", Steinberg said.

"I can not express my gratitude enough to those heroes and "she-roes" who are being honored in our museum", she said.

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