Former President Obama and Rep. John LewisJohn LewisOssoff features Obama in TV ad ahead of in Georgia run-off Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? Democrats lead in diversity in new Congress despite GOP gains MORE (D-Ga.) met with a group of high schoolers at a D.C. high school this week to discuss civil rights and Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement leader’s assassination.

In a video released Wednesday, Obama and Lewis sat down with the high schoolers at the all-male Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in a roundtable for My Brother’s Keeper, Obama’s initiative to help young men of color.

“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,” Obama told the students.

“Dr. King was controversial, but he studied and thought and crafted what he had to say. He knew, when he spoke, he was expressing a truth as well as he could know it,” he continued.


Lewis also described what it was like to protest alongside King. He shared stories about the March on Washington, where King made his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.

“Being on the right side of history isn’t always popular. And it isn’t always easy,” Obama said to Lewis. “You don’t know when things are going to break your way. You don’t know whether your labors will deliver.”

“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, to say something. Dr. King inspired us to do just that,” Lewis replied.