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Rep. John Lewis boycotting MS civil rights museum due to Trump's attendance

08 December 2017

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.

Mr. Lewis, who voted on Wednesday in favor of a failed attempt to begin impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump, has clashed with the president several times since he won the election.

"President Trump's attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum", the pair said in a statement.

Numerous seminal moments of the movement - the stories of Emmet Till, of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner, of Medgar Evers, of James Meredith, of Fannie Lou Hamer and the Freedom Riders and Freedom Summer - all happened on MS soil. The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington has attracted crowds since opening in 2016.

"President Trump's statements and policies regarding the protection and enforcement of civil rights have been abysmal, and his attendance is an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement", Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO, said in a statement. "The President hopes others will join him in recognizing that the movement was about removing barriers and unifying Americans of all backgrounds". "I don't know anyone who thinks this is a smart move".

"We are very fortunate the president of the United States is coming to Mississippi", Bryant said.

"However, they have every right to protest it", Sanders added.

The Georgia Democrat and civil rights icon helped organize the 1964 Freedom Summer targeting segregation in Mississippi.

Lewis has been expected to be one of the main speakers at the event, along with Myrlie Evers, the widow of assassinated Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers.

"If God gives me the breath and the strength, I will address his attendance when I stand to speak", she told The New York Times.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thompson and Lewis' announcement. Rhodes said he still planned to attend.

Both museums tell the story of Mississippi, and in the case of the Museum of Mississippi History, the story reaches back as far as 15,000 years. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum keeps those stories alive and relevant.

Saturday's opening of these two museums dedicated to that single objective is a fitting tribute to our state's 200th birthday.

The museums take an unflinching look at the state's past - complete with displays of slave chains, Ku Klux Klan robes and graphic photos of lynchings and firebombings.

Rep. John Lewis boycotting MS civil rights museum due to Trump's attendance