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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Congressman John Lewis took part in a program called “Conversation with a Legend” on Tuesday.

He discussed his fight for civil rights with hundreds of young men who have learned about him as part of a history class.

“So you will be the leaders of the 21st Century,” the congressman said.

The congressman addressed 900 students from 38 local schools at Miami Edison Middle School as part of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project.

The students watched clips from the movie “Selma,” dramatizing the 1965 march that left Lewis injured and in jail for refusing to end peaceful protests for voting rights in Alabama.

Lewis discussed the civil rights struggle but not his current feud with President-elect Donald Trump.

Lewis called Trump an illegitimate president because of Russian hacking in the election, adding he will not attend the trump inauguration.

While Lewis steered clear of criticizing the president-elect today, he did comment on Monday’s shooting that left eight people injured following the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Liberty City.

“I’m so sorry to hear about the violence, especially on MLK day,” he said. “We all know Dr. King was against violence and my message to these young people today is stay away from violence.”

Taking questions from the young men in the audience, Lewis reminded them to stay involved in the fight for fairness and equal rights, adding that he and Dr. King were also young men during the civil rights struggle.

“So as young men, you have an obligation, a mission and a mandate. You have a legacy to uphold,” he said.

Eliott Rodriguez

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