John Lewis Is Skipping a Civil Rights Museum Opening. Here’s Why That’s a Big Deal

Decades before he represented Georgia in the House of Representatives, Democrat John Lewis was a linchpin of the civil rights movement, a young firebrand from Alabama who in 1965 worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. to lead the historic march out of Selma. Not for the first time, Lewis is now in a feud with President Donald Trump.

The latest spat began Thursday, when John Lewis announced that he would not be joining the President on stage during Trump’s forthcoming visit to the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. “President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum,” Lewis said in a statement.

The announcement seemed to rankle the White House. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Thursday that “we think it’s unfortunate.”

Here’s what to know about the situation between civil rights leader John Lewis and President Donald Trump.

Who is Congressman John Lewis?

John Lewis is one of the most prominent members in the House Democratic Caucus. He’s represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District for nearly 21 years, popular in his home district and known on the Hill for his outspoken defense of liberal policies. At 77, age has not wearied him in any apparent sense.

But John Lewis’ political roots are in civil rights. Lewis grew up in Jim Crow Alabama, a hotbed of racism and discrimination in the pre-civil rights era. He found his calling early: As a college student in Nashville, Lewis played a major part in the sit-in movement there. Lewis was also a major player in…

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