Yesterday, Civil Rights Icon Rep. John Lewis along with the N.A.A.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) announced they would not attend Saturday’s opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, citing the attendance of President Trump. Lewis in a press statement said, “Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum. The struggles represented in this museum exemplify the truth of what really happened in Mississippi. President Trump disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants and National Football League players disrespect the efforts of Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, Robert Clark, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwener and countless others who have given their all for Mississippi to be a better place.” The images of historical figures are essential in the public content they’re presented within. Why is Martin Luther King Jr.’s bust still in President Trump’s Oval Office? The MLK bust has no place in President Trump’s Oval Office. Our societal simplicity of history has led to a misrepresentation of historical figures which have consequences on our interpretation of the present.

For starters, Americans lack an understanding of basic history. In 2016, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni studied the inclusion of American history in the curricula of the leading colleges and universities in the United States, which revealed startling facts. The study found that only about half of the students at the top 50 colleges and universities could identify the purpose of The Federalist Papers, and 22 percent knew that the phrase, “government of the people, by the people, for the people” could be found in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. What this means is that you can get away with an image of almost anything in American history. That leads me to the conflict of placing Dr. King’s bust in the White House.

Dr. King is one of the most significant figures in American history.  However, he was an activist who fought against the systems of oppositions and war. Placing the bust in the Oval Office is a misrepresentation and disservice to his role in history.  His bust also should not have been in the Oval Office, during Obama’s presidency when drone strikes were occurring. However, it has no the business there today with a President who entertains hateful forces of violence, sexism, racism, homophobia on a daily basis. Along with disregarding basic democratic norms of a healthy democracy. We have to protect the legacy of our historical figures in society.