Lemon offered a rebuttal to Donald Trump's recent comments
that black communities in the US are "absolutely in the worst shape that they've ever been in before."
"You take a look at the inner cities, you get no education, you get no jobs, you get shot walking down the street. They're worse -- I mean, honestly, places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities," Trump said Tuesday at a rally in Kenansville, North Carolina.
But Lemon had a different point of view.
"Here's the truth, Lemon said. "Things are getting better for African-American communities."
He acknowledged that President Barack Obama, America's first black president, hasn't solved all of the problems facing black communities, "just like our white presidents haven't solved all of the problems in white America."
"We're not there yet," Lemon emphatically said. "The country is in process. This is an era of protest and patriotism, as well. This is the history of black America, it's a history of America."
Lemon added that the history of black America can be seen in Langston Hughes' poem "I, Too." On Thursday, the poem was reprinted in a special section of the print edition of The New York Times, marking the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Don read the iconic poem, which begins:
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
"Those very powerful words were written in 1926," Lemon said. "They are well worth rereading today."