Two Black Lawmakers to Boycott Trump's Civil Rights Museum Visit

Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

In the statement, the men cited Trump's profane insults toward black athletes protesting racial injustice in the National Football League and Trump's partial defense of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville as reasons they would not be attending the ceremony, which is scheduled for Saturday.

"We are telling a much longer story in the Museum of Mississippi History, a much deeper story in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum", said Katie Blount, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

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.

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Lewis, a key civil rights figure, has always been a critic of Mr. Trump, and vis-versa. Bennie G. Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat.

Lewis and Thompson join some other prominent Democrats in the state who have pulled out since Trump's visit was announced.


In the 1950s and '60s, segregationist whites waved Confederate flags and slapped defiant bumper stickers on cars declaring MS "the most lied about State in the Union".

Several groups are organizing protests of the president's appearance, as museum officials urge visitors to keep those protests away from the museum grounds out of respect for what the museum represents.

Saturday's ceremony will also feature speeches from former NAACP chairman Myrlie Evers and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). Rhodes said he still planned to attend. "He has never been a supporter of civil rights or equal opportunity or justice".

"After careful consideration and conversations with church leaders, elected officials, civil right activists and many citizens of our congressional districts, we have decided not to attend or participate in the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum", they said in their statement.

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 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.

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