Former President Obama marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. by releasing a video in which he sits down with Rep. John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat who was also engaged in the civil rights fight.
Obama brought Lewis before a group of young men of color, as part of his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which he started while in office.
Meanwhile, President Trump marked the day with a tweet and a proclamation, while keeping his schedule clear of events until just after 7 p.m., when he was to leave the White House for a private dinner hosted by a top lobbyist.
President Obama (left) marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death by sharing a video in which he interviews Rep. John Lewis (right), another civil rights leader
President Trump tweeted abut the assassination, though didn’t attend any MLK-related events, keeping his schedule clear for most of the day
From the tweet, he linked to a short video address he delivered about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
‘Fifty years ago Dr. King was cruelly taken from this world by an assassin’s bullet, but the promise he fought for could never be taken away, his words, his deeds, they live on forever,’ Trump said in a short video. ‘And the cause for which he gave his life only gained strength and force and power by the passage of time.’
In his proclamation, Trump spoke of denouncing racism and embracing the ‘sanctity of life,’ a phrase often used in connection with the abortion debate.
‘It is not government that will achieve Dr. King’s ideals, but rather the people of this great country who will see to it that our Nation represents all that is good and true, and embodies unity, peace, and justice,’ Trump also said.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also read a statement about King from the podium Wednesday.
President Obama’s video tribute opens with him asking Lewis where he was when he heard the news that King had died.
‘I was in Indianapolis, Indiana campaigning for Robert Kennedy … and it was Robert Kennedy who announced to the group that Dr. King had been assassinated,’ Lewis said.
Bobby Kennedy was assassinated two months and two days after King, as he left a speaking engagement at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
The park where RFK spoke on the day of King’s death, on April 4, 1968, now contains the Kennedy King Memorial.
In the Obama video, former President Obama (left) asks Rep. John Lewis (right) where he was when he found out that Martin Luther King Jr. had ided
John Lewis (left) told a group of young boys of color that he had been campaigning for Robert F. Kennedy, who would be killed two months and two days later, also by an assassin’s bullet
Lewis told Obama he hasn’t been back to that Indianapolis park in 50 years, but plans to go in the next few days.
The civil rights leader, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986, said the aftermath of MLK’s death was a ‘very sad and dark time for me.’
‘When he was assassinated I said to myself, I said, “Listen, self, you cannot get down, you have to pick ’em up and keep going,” and that’s what I’ve been trying to do,’ Lewis told the room of young people Obama had assembled.
‘The thing that I regret more than anything else, I probably didn’t spend enough time with him,’ Lewis noted. ‘I thought he would be around for a long time. But i was this sense of urgency that we had.’
Lewis is the last living speaker from the March on Washington, and he recalled people thinking that his views expressed there were ‘too extreme.’
‘Part of what you always want to communicate to young people is that being on the right side of history isn’t always popular, and it isn’t always easy,’ Obama chimed in. ‘And you don’t know when things are going to break your way, you don’t know whether your labors will deliver.’
Despite that, Lewis encouraged the young people to speak out, and follow in the footsteps of King.
‘When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, say something,’ the Georgia Democrat said.