Civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) broke down while reliving a sit-in at an exhibit at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta.
Lewis, who was touring the exhibit with former Obama adviser David Axelrod for an episode of CNN’s “The Axe Files,” got emotional listening to a reenactment of the brutal harassment and violence peaceful demonstrators faced during the Civil Right’s Movement.
The audio that Lewis listened to was a depiction of what he himself faced while demonstrating.“How painful is it to hear those scenes?” Axelrod asked before Lewis began to cry.
“Surreal. It is real. Exactly what happened,” Lewis responded.
Lewis was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and worked with leaders including Martin Luther King Jr.
He took part in the civil rights march in Selma at the height of the movement in 1965, and was severely injured when he was hit in the head with a club.
“We have come a distance. We made progress,” he said. “But there are forces in America trying to slow us down or take us back,” Lewis told Axelrod.
The congressman has proven to be one of President Trump’s most vocal critics, saying the president is “uncaring” and lacks an understanding of civil rights.
“I think the person we have in Washington today is uncaring,” he said.
“[Trump] knows very, very little about the struggle and the history of the civil rights movement.”