John Lewis to skip civil rights museum opening

John Lewis to skip civil rights museum opening

"Trump's attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum".

These attacks, the statement claimed, disrespect the efforts of Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, Robert Clark, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and "countless others who have given their all for MS to be a better place".

The two African American congressmen issued a joint statement about their decision, arguing Trump's presence "disrespects" the efforts of Mississippi's black civil rights leaders.

The announcement on Monday that Mr. Trump planned to attend the opening of the museum quickly drew controversy.

Lewis' House colleague Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., also announced Thursday he would not attend the museum's opening event. "The President hopes others will join him in recognizing that the movement was about removing barriers and unifying Americans of all backgrounds".

He said he planned to boycott the inauguration for the first time in three decades, which he did. "If he could, he would wipe all us right off the map".

The two men have traded barbs for the better part of the year after Lewis, a high-profile Hillary Clinton supporter, said he didn't see Trump as a "legitimate president" in January. NAACP Mississippi chapter president Charles Hampton asked Bryant to rescind the invitation noting, "an invitation to a president that has aimed to divide this nation is not becoming of this historic moment".

Lewis, a civil rights icon and Georgia Democrat, was arrested in Jackson in 1961 with Freedom Riders who were protesting segregated bus travel. "His support of white supremacists and racism exact opposite of what museum is about", said Maybus, a former Democratic governor of Mississippi.

"Why should I protest something that I worked so hard for?" asked Hezekiah Watkins, 70, who lost count of how many times he was arrested for civil rights protests and at one point even shared a cell with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"I think this is something that should bring the country together to celebrate the opening of this museum and highlighting Civil Rights Movement and the progress that we've made".

"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.