Trump Flunks History Lesson of John Lewis
Failed POTUS is antithesis of civil rights hero, says historian.
As the nation collectively mourns the death of John R. Lewis — while also honoring his life and legacy — Professor Elwood Watson, Ph.D. is calling out President Trump for dishonoring the memory of the beloved civil rights icon.
Trump said today he will NOT pay his respects to John Lewis, as the former Georgia congressman lies in state at the U.S. Capitol.
In a sharply worded essay on Medium, Dr. Watson notes that Rep. Lewis considered Trump as an illegitimate president and a racist, due to Trump’s words and deeds over decades. Lewis was targeted by president-elect Trump in a racial tweet storm during January 2017 (over the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend). Lewis boycotted Trump’s inauguration on moral grounds.
The 45th President of the United States (POTUS) only gave scant mention to the passing of Rep. Lewis, waiting hours after his death was publicly announced to issue a curt tweet.
Professor Watson writes the following:
- “One would expect any U.S. president to rise to the occasion with dignity by offering praise and appreciation for all Lewis had accomplished for his country in effectuating civil rights and racial justice for the greater good.”
- “But that was too much to ask of a serial liar and raging narcissist like Trump, who doesn’t hide his utter contempt for minorities and women on one hand, while basking in his retrograde affinity for the white supremacy of the Confederacy on the other.”
- “The fact that Trump had the unmitigated gall to allude to John Lewis as being incompetent, ineffective and useless to his constituency is beyond insulting to African Americans and all Americans — whom the president purports to represent.”
In another essay in Medium and The Good Men Project, RIP John Lewis: Paying Tribute to the “Conscience of Congress’ (July 20), Watson writes about the early life, bold social activism and honorable public service of Lewis:
“For demanding the right to vote as an American citizen, you were often at the forefront of challenging injustice wherever it reared its tormenting and sadistic head.” — Dr. Elwood Watson.
On July 9, Watson authored an article on systemic racism and corporate social responsibility for Public Seminar, an independent academic journal of The New School (New York City). In his essay, Saying Goodbye to Aunt Jemima is Not Enough, Watson implores corporate America to stop using racist brands:
- “It is way past time these brand relics and their corporate overlords conceded to common sense and decency by dropping names and mascots that originated in an era when racially bigoted portrayals were acceptable for commercial purposes.” (Read Press Release)
Watson’s latest book is Keepin’ It Real: Essays on Race in Contemporary America (University of Chicago Press). He teaches African American Studies, Gender Studies, Popular Culture, and Post-World War II History at East Tennessee State University.
Watson’s other books include:
- Outsiders Within: Black Women in the Legal Academy After Brown v Board (Roman and Littlefield) and,
- Generation X Professors Speak: Voices from Academia (Scarecrow Press, Inc.).
- His forthcoming book, Talkin’ to You Bro! Real Challenges Men Face in the 21st Century (Lasting Impact Press), will be released soon.
In addition to addressing President Trump, systemic racism and civil rights generally, Watson is available for media interviews on a host of timely topics including:
- Black Lives Matter and African American history,
- race and COVID-19,
- race and gender equity,
- racial politics and the 2020 election,
- white supremacy and Confederate symbols, as well as
- other current race-related topics.
Email GrinbergGlobalPR@gmail.com to arrange an interview with Dr. Watson.