by on April 4, 2018

Former President Barack Obama joined civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis to reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years after his assassination.

In a six-and-a-half minute video, shot in black and white, Lewis recalled learning that King had been shot while campaigning for Robert Kennedy in Indianapolis.

Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis (D-GA) reflects on the impact of Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years after his assassination.

"The thing I regret more than anything else is I probably didn't spend enough time with him and learning from him. I thought he would be around a long time," he said.

Obama and Lewis visited with young men from Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Washington, DC, for a My Brother's Keeper Alliance roundtable discussion. The video was earlier reported by Time magazine.

    Lewis, who Obama called "one of my inspirations to get into public life," shared his memories of King and the civil rights movement, including speaking at the March on Washington.

    "There were some people who suggested that my speech was too extreme, that it was too radical. But I thought what I had to say was important to be said. Black people in the South couldn't register to vote, simply because of the color of their skin. In some places, people asked you to count the number of bubbles in a bar of soap, the number of jelly beans in a jar," Lewis, the last living speaker from the March, said.

    During the conversation, a young man asked the leaders how being controversial could be both a benefit and a disadvantage.

    "If you are speaking on behalf of social justice, then by definition, there's going to be some controversy. Because if it wasn't controversial, then somebody would have already fixed it. Dr. King was controversial, but he studied and fought and crafted what he had to say. And he knew that when he spoke, he was expressing a truth as well as he could know," Obama said.

    Lewis added, "I've said to young people especially. I've said to students, 'When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, to say something, and Dr. King inspired us to do just that."

    By Betsy Klein

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