Obama and Civil Rights icon John Lewis honored MKL Jr. by speaking with students on the 50th anniversary of his death, and teaching them about his strength, tenacity and ability to incite action.
In regard to coping with his assassination, John Lewis stated, “Well it was a very sad and dark time for me. He was my leader, he was my inspiration. When he was assassinated, I said to myself, ‘Listen self, you cannot get down. You got to pick ‘em up and keep going.’”
He went on to say, “There were some people that suggested my speech was too extreme, it was too radical. But — I thought what I had to say was important to be said. Black people in the South couldn’t register to vote, some because of the color of their skin.”
“Dr. King was controversial, but he studied and thought and crafted what he had to say. He knew when he spoke that he was expressing a truth as well as he could know it.” Obama stated. “If you are speaking on behalf of social justice, then by definition there’s going to be some controversy. Because if it wasn’t controversial then somebody would’ve already fixed it."