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US Governor tells black congressman 'a thank you would suffice' for the abolition of slavery

Maine Governor Paul LePage said John Lewis needs a history lesson.

Image: Matt Slocum

DEMOCRATIC US CONGRESSMAN John Lewis, a civil rights leader who says he doesn’t see Donald Trump as a “legitimate president,” should be grateful for all that Republican presidents have done for black people, GOP Governor of Maine Paul LePage said today.

LePage, who’s white, said on WVOM-FM that the black Democratic Georgia congressman needs a history lesson.

“We’re sick of the silver-tongued people. How about John Lewis last week? Criticising the president?” LePage said.

You know, I will just say this: John Lewis ought to look at history. It was Abraham Lincoln that freed the slaves. It was Rutherford B. Hayes and Ulysses S. Grant that fought against Jim Crow laws. A simple thank you would suffice.

Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and pushed for the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. But historians say LePage is wrong about Jim Crow laws.

Jim Crow laws didn’t exist during the Grant administration and an electoral deal that put Hayes in office led to the end of Reconstruction and the removal of federal troops, setting the stage for the creation of Jim Crow laws that followed, said Colby professor Dan Shea.

“Paul LePage is going to give John Lewis a tutorial on the history of black oppression in the United States? That’s rich,” Shea said.

Paul LePage, Sara Gideon Source: PA

Lewis, a leader of the Civil Rights Movement who suffered a fractured skull while leading the march in Selma, Alabama, said last week that he would not attend Trump’s inauguration.

“You know, I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Lewis said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press that aired on Sunday.

Read: Donald Trump in Twitter attack on Congressman who marched alongside Martin Luther King

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