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Rep. John Lewis: Trump is an 'insult' to civil rights event

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Rep. John Lewis thanks anti-gun violence supporters following a rally with fellow Democrats on the East Front steps of the U.S. House of Representatives

In particular, Lewis pointed to the president's "disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants, and National Football League players". Bennie G. Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat. "The President hopes others will join him in recognizing that the movement was about removing barriers and unifying Americans of all backgrounds".

The statement encouraged Mississippians and Americans to visit "this historic civil rights museum" after Trump departs.

The opening of the History of Mississippi Museum will also be part of the ceremonies.

Mr. Trump lashed out at the congressman the next day on Twitter, saying his congressional district, which includes three-quarters of Atlanta, was "in awful shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested.)" He also said the civil rights icon was "all talk, talk, talk - no action or results".

Derrick Johnson, the organization's president, said in a statement that Mr. Trump's record on "the protection and enforcement of civil rights have been abysmal and his attendance is an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement". Bryant said the president's appearance brings importance to the event. "I don't know anyone who thinks this is a smart move".

"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. Later, as the head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lewis helped organize Freedom Summer, a volunteer effort to register voters in MS in 1964. The Rev. C.J. Rhodes, a prominent African American clergyman, tweeted Thursday morning that Lewis' "voice is needed here now more than ever".

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Reuben Anderson, the first black state Supreme Court justice, has said he won't abandon the platform after helping to lead private fundraising efforts for the museum.

The Museum of Mississippi History takes a 15,000-year view, from the Stone Age through modern times.

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

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 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.

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