Black lawmakers Representative John Lewis (D-GA) and Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS) made news, when they vowed to boycott the grand opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum because President Donald Trump was invited to attend. Trump's eventual arrival was met with protests. He toured the museum while praising civil rights veterans such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Medgar Evans.
Now black Congress members want to celebrate the civil rights museum on their own terms. According to WTSP Florida, they'll attend what they call a "counter" celebration.
“It could be called a counter opening," Thompson said. “But what we’re trying to say is the civil rights museum should not be highlighted by people who have no history in the civil rights movement, so we’re trying to legitimize the museum by bringing participants and supporters of civil rights who have a long-standing history of civil rights and not people who are there for the day and gone.’’
A two-day event hosted by Friends of Mississippi Civil Rights will kick off on February 23 with an awards gala followed by a day-long program, consisting of a town hall and symposiums. Thompson and Lewis will speak at the event along with national NAACP head Derrick Johnson and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ); Representative Cedric Richmond (D-LA), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, will be a special guest.
Back in December, Friends of Mississippi co-chairman Carlos Moore announced the upcoming event on his Facebook page, noting they weren't going to let Trump "rain on our parade."
“To me Donald Trump is the total opposite of everything that Dr. King and Mr. Lewis stood for,’’ said Moore. “I didn’t believe his comments would be from the heart. I thought it would be a dog-and-pony show.’’