It’s a sad Martin Luther King Jr. Day when you read a story about an iconic civil rights figure being taunted by racist white men and realize how far back this country has slid during the Trump administration.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to Representative John Lewis (D-GA), one of the OG “Freedom Riders” of the civil rights era who faced discrimination, harassment, and physical assault during the marches of the 60’s.
Appearing on Senator Cory Booker’s new podcast, Lift Every Voice, Rep. Lewis recounted the story of a most disturbing phenomenon he’s encountered recently while traveling, taunts from white passengers who recognize him, and it is directly related to the election of Donald Trump.
“I was coming back to Washington on Sunday night,” Lewis said. “I was on a flight from Atlanta. And I’m walking down the aisle and the gentleman said as loud as he could, ‘Trump!’ So I didn’t — I just kept walking. I didn’t say anything. And sometimes I’m walking in the airport in different places. I guess [people think] they’re getting to me or harassing me. But they don’t understand… I’ve been called many, many things. But I’m not going to let anything get me down. I’m going to keep walking, keep moving.”
As chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Rep. Lewis was one of the “Big Six” figures behind the 1963 March on Washington along with Dr. King and was beaten with nightsticks by Alabama State Troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, fracturing his skull.
With a life dedicated to fighting for equal rights for all citizens, Lewis is hardly the kind of person to be intimidated by someone shouting out Donald Trump’s name. The fact that there are now closet racists who feel comfortable enough to publicly insult a major figure in the struggle for equality by simply screaming the name of the most racist President of the modern era, now that is painful. And the blame for that can entirely be laid at the feet of Donald Trump.