Hard history: MS museums explore slavery, Klan era


In particular, Lewis pointed to the president's "disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants, and National Football League players".

After Lewis questioned whether Trump was a "legitimate president" and boycotted Trump's inauguration, Trump fired back on Twitter: "Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in terrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results".

In a statement, NAACP president and chief executive Derrick Johnson said that 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".

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.

The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, located next to each other on North Street in downtown Jackson, features more than 200,000 square feet of space with 22,000 artifacts. "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", said Gaude, who is a MS native. John Lewis and Bennie G. Thompson said that after "conversations with church leaders, elected officials, civil right activists and many citizens of our congressional districts", they have decided not to attend the opening.

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This isn't the first time President Trump's presence at a museum has upset some African-Americans. "The leaders being honored in the museum were murdered at the whim of a lawless mob, and could not sit freely in public buildings and public transportation".

The two distinct museums under a single roof are both funded by State tax dollars and private donations.

Mississippi's civil rights museum is the nation's first such state-sponsored civil rights museum.

Speakers will include the widow of Medgar Evers, Myrlie Evers, as well as Gov. Phil Bryant and former governors Haley Barbour and William F. Winter.

No matter how Saturday's event plays out, both museums will endure as lasting legacies of our state's history and stand as invaluable educational tools for generations of Mississippians to come. "And I would hope that those individuals would join in that celebration instead of protesting it".