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Why a former Mississippi governor won’t attend the civil rights museum opening

Former Secretary of the Navy and former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus, second from left, is greeted by friends at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. Mabus released a statement Thursday explaining why he won’t attend the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opening on Saturday.
Former Secretary of the Navy and former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus, second from left, is greeted by friends at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. Mabus released a statement Thursday explaining why he won’t attend the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opening on Saturday. AP File

A former Mississippi governor will not be attending the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opening this weekend because of who will be there.

Former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus, who also served as Secretary of the Navy under President Barack Obama, today issued the following statement on Donald Trump attending Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Opening on Saturday:

“It is with a great deal of sadness that I will not attend the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Saturday,” he said in a statement emailed out Thursday morning. “This institution and event should be a celebration of the hard-won progress in civil rights, but the main speaker, Donald Trump, is actively attacking that progress and turning us back to the dark days of hatred and division.

“An overt racist and a supporter of white supremacists and neo-Nazis, Donald Trump represents the exact opposite of what this museum is about — honoring the heroes who fought for, and often died for, the idea of equality of all.

“Donald Trump’s words and deeds show he would not stand with people like Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and so many, many more.”

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that some young activists are planning a protest of Trump’s attendance, possibly a silent kneel-in or a street demonstration.

Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain activist Medgar Evers, is scheduled to attend. She told the AP, “I hope in his coming there will be an opportunity for him to learn something.”

The museum, officially opening Saturday, sits alongside a new Museum of Mississippi History in a 200,000-square-foot complex in downtown Jackson.

Kate Magandy: 228-896-2344, @kmagandy

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