Officials at LaGrange College probably thought they had pulled off a coup in getting U.S. Representative John Lewis (at right), a close ally of Martin Luther King Jr. and a civil rights hero in his own right, to speak on campus this month to honor Martin Luther King Day. But the college has been forced to defend the choice when some alumni objected to bringing in someone who is engaged in public argument with President-elect Donald Trump.
The Ledger-Enquirer reported that the college in Georgia released a sampling of critical messages it has received. Said one, “Why would you have someone who calls into question the legitimacy of President-elect Trump at our college? Bad move no matter what he has done in his lifetime to have him speak to the students. We think you should reconsider!” Another said, “I am so very disappointed in the news that John Lewis will speak at LaGrange College on MLK Day. There are so many more appropriate individuals/speakers who could have been selected to present this message on this day. I can only hope that the choices made by the school leadership will improve in the future.”
LaGrange is standing behind the invitation and issued a statement to that effect. A spokeswoman for the college said that most of the small number who have objected were alumni enrolled in the 1960s.