Did You Know: John Lewis introduced the Bill to have an African-American museum back in 1988

posted by Vic January 15, 2017
Are you looking at this, Trump?

In the morning hours of Saturday, January 14th, the world woke up to news that our president elect, Donald Trump, responded to civil rights leader and current Georgia representative John Lewis with his favorite “weapon-of-choice”, twitter.

Responding to Lewis’ claims that Trump is “not a legitimate president”, Trump posted this on his twitter account:

Of course, this drew backlash, as his tweets usually do. Almost immediately, people on social media began posting all the historical accomplishments John Lewis made, from the Freedom Rides in 1961 to the March on Selma in 1965 and beyond.

However, one small bit that people may not know is that for 15 years, starting in 1988, he pushed the bill to have what we now know as the National Museum of African American History and Culture built.

Well actually, it was he and Texas democrat Mickey Leland who introduced the bill — but after Leland died in a plane crash a year later, the onus fell completely on Lewis to get it done.

Here’s how Lewis himself described the process:

“I introduced the museum bill in every session of Congress for 15 years. I got it through the House in 1994, but Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) mounted a filibuster against the bill. My Senate partners asked to meet in my office one day. They said, “John, we have the votes to get this through the Senate, but we just don’t have anything to trade Jesse.” That push did not lead to passage, but I had gotten closer than I ever had before.”

“I continued to introduce the legislation in every session of Congress and worked to find a way to get the bill through. Ultimately, I made a key alliance with Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Rep. J.C. Watts (R–Okla.). The bill won passage in the House and Senate and was signed into law in 2003 by President George W. Bush. My final drive to the finish line was the completion of a dream first launched by visionary supporters of black Civil War veterans exactly 100 years ago.”

The “100 years” he’s referring to was a meeting held by the National Memorial Association on May 24, 1916, which discussed a vision to create “a beautiful building to commemorate the deeds American Negroes wrought for the perpetuation and advancement of the Nation”.

100 years later, that vision came to pass.

In all, John Lewis did more than the “all talk, no action” Trump ignorantly tweeted about. He obviously needs to do more research, and it’s up to us to educate him on “hidden accomplishments” made by black and minority leaders our nation tends to “hide from the general public”.

Update: Here’s a 3rd tweet Trump released on Lewis:

Seem like Trump is scaling back a little from his earlier tweets — but may we add that not all “burning and crime infested inner-cities” are black cities. That’s another conversation for another day.


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