‘The civil rights struggle has not survived on fear nor superficiality’

12/22/2017, 4:48 p.m.

Re Letter to the editor, “Absence from Mississippi museum dedication hurt us,” Free Press Dec. 14-16 edition:

It is an unimaginable claim that Rep. John Lewis’ absence from the dedication of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Dec. 9 hurt the African-American community. For Rep. Lewis to have stood on such hallowed ground with President Trump at the dedication would have been a travesty of historic proportions.

In his brief tenure, the president has not missed an opportunity to demean, diminish and degrade African-American leaders in virtually every sector — military widows, football players, congressional leaders, Charlottesville protesters and even Rep. Lewis, a Civil Rights Movement icon himself — long before he walked through that museum door.

From his birther idiocy to his relentless endeavor to erase every achievement of President Obama, to his cabinet picks, to his refusal to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus and undermining HBCUs, any call to acknowledge his presence on such a momentous occasion tarnishes that sacred history! Rep. Lewis’ presence would have had no impact on what the president ineloquently spewed at the dedication.

Mississippi’s Republican Gov. Phil Bryant tweeted, “The world will be watching. Let us come together as one Mississippi,” clearly revealing that his agenda with the president was a photo op.

Much more work on civil rights must be done in Mississippi and America before Gov. Bryant can honestly offer a photo of “one Mississippi.” Truth must be blazoned, not waxed over.

Civil rights is not a game to be won or lost. It is the unrelenting quest for a quality of citizenship that is our birthright. The civil rights struggle has not survived on fear nor superficiality, but the courage to oppose power at any level and overcome the evils it embraces.

Rep. Lewis’ absence in that moment is no cause of any ballot box impotence. One word settles that debate: Alabama.

It’s laughable to imagine this event as “an opportune time to ask” the president about civil rights since he has refused to engage in such conversations in the Oval Office, at press conferences or celebrating his signatures, etc. How then could you imagine he would engage in such topics in the “pass-through” Mississippi Museum moment?

Contrary to your opinion, there are no politicians more real than Rep. John Lewis from whose life your word “complacency” is as foreign and distant as Mars is from Earth!