Opening of Mississippi Civil Rights Museum shouldn't be a political opportunity to attack Donald Trump

Published 7:01 am Thursday, December 7, 2017

There is no other place in the world I’d rather live than right here in Mississippi.

The most overused quote from the great Mississippi author William Faulkner is: “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.”

It is also one of truest sentences I have ever read.

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I love this state and its people, heritage and history. It’s where my roots are in the Mississippi Delta and home is on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I’ve been blessed with a career that has allowed me to live from Picayune to Oxford and Laurel to Vicksburg and meet some incredible people along the way.

Mississippi is also a state that has frustrated me as I’ve grown older — in particular, the politics of this state.

On Saturday, the day before Mississippi officially celebrates the 200th anniversary of becoming the 17th state in the Union, our state will open two unique historical museums that attempt to tell the complicated story of Mississippi.

The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum are under one roof, which is appropriate since Mississippi’s history cannot be separated.

The President of the United States has been invited by Gov. Phil Bryant to attend the opening ceremony, which has caused angst among many in the Democrat Party. It appears President Trump’s appearance is somehow a slap in the face to liberals.

Rickey Cole, who has been a longtime leader for the Democratic Party in Mississippi, tweeted “Bringing 45 to the Civil Rights Museum is like bringing Jane Fonda to the Legion Hut.”

Jacqueline R. Amos, field director of the Mississippi Democratic Party, has been one of the more vocal in not wanting Trump in attendance and asking state leaders to rescind the invitation to the President. In a statement she issued: 

“Any reasonable person knows that the presence of such a hugely divisive and polarizing figure will pervert and diminish what could otherwise be a healing and teaching moment for our state. Mr. Trump attained to the highest office in the land by appeals and tactics that do great and lasting violence to our civil rights heritage. His campaign appealed to the very worst demons of the American soul. He is a disgraceful president, a malicious influence, and an abominable human being. He has no place at a celebration of the very values and aspirations his presidency is clearly committed to destroy. Mr. President, leave Mississippi alone. We have had far too much experience with your kind already.”

There is no doubt President Trump is seen by many on the left as a vile individual, but the reaction from state Democratic Party leaders of his possible presence at this event only further divides our state along political lines, which is a shame. The civil rights museum is meant to unify and teach others so that we all can come together and learn from Mississippi’s past.

I would hope those on the left could move past making this event a political opportunity to attack the President and make it a celebration of how far our state has come in the last 200 years as we move forward together.

Rob Sigler is editor of The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at