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John Lewis cancels trip to civil rights museum, citing Trump's attendance

John Lewis cancels trip to civil rights museum, citing Trump's attendance

John Lewis, an organizer in the 1963 March on Washington who has served 16 terms in the House of Representatives, said he will skip the event on Saturday - unless the president backs out beforehand.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend the museums' opening, a White House official said on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the trip before it is formally announced.

"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".

"Mississippi's troubled past will be laid bare, but also the hope of its people, then and now, will be on display for all to see", said Governor Phil Bryant (R-Mississippi) during a press conference touting both a new state history museum and the Civil Rights Museum.

"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", Glaude said.

Earlier this week, Lewis expressed doubts as to whether he could "live with myself" if he was on the program with the president at the ribbon-cutting event in Mississippi.

Dr. Amos Brown, NAACP board member and San Francisco Branch President, said in the statement: "As a freedom fighter and contemporary of Emmett Till, Trump's visit is an insult".

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Trump ultimately visited the museum more than a month later on February 21.

In the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, columns list about 600 documented lynchings - a lot of them of black men.

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.

The national NAACP also disapproved of the invitation.

The White House later issued a statement calling it "unfortunate" that Lewis and Thompson won't join the president in honouring the "incredible sacrifice civil rights leaders made to right the injustices in our history".

"He has created a commission to reinforce voter suppression, refused to denounce white supremacists, and overall, has created a racially hostile climate in this nation", Johnson added.

"We are better than that", Bryant said Wednesday of those who oppose Trump. He told CNN that Trump attending the opening of the museum was "an affront to what the Civil Rights Movement really stood for".