We are devastated over the recent passing of Congressman and Civil Rights Leader John Lewis. Congressman John Lewis wasn't a man who just talked the talk. He was one who not only talked, but he walked it. Lewis was a courageous man who helped millions.
John Robert Lewis was born February 21, 1940, near Troy, Alabama, and died July 17, 2020, in Atlanta Georgia surrounded by love ones. He was an American civil rights leader and politician who was best known for his chairmanship of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and for leading the civil rights march that was stopped by police violence on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, a landmark event in the history of the Civil Rights movement that became known as “Bloody Sunday.”
Congressman Lewis was the son of Alabama sharecroppers and attended segregated schools in the Jim Crow South. As a teenager, however, he was inspired by the courageous defiance of Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to whose attention John Lewis came when he indicated his desire to desegregate Troy State College (now Troy University). Dissuaded from doing so by his parents, Lewis instead was educated in Nashville at the American Baptist Theological Institute and Fisk University. He received a B.A. in religion and philosophy in 1967.
John Lewis undertook the study of nonviolent protest and became involved in sit-ins at lunch counters and other segregated public places. In 1961, while participating in the Freedom Rides, Lewis was beaten and arrested. He would experience beatings and be arrested often. In 1963, he was elected to replace Chuck McDew as the chairman of SNCC, a position he held until 1966 when he was succeeded by Stokely Carmichael, as the organization took a more militant direction. Also in 1963, Lewis played a key role in the historic March on Washington. Indeed, by that point, Lewis, though still in his early 20s, had already become such a prominent figure that he was considered one of the civil rights movement’s “Big Six” leaders, along with King, James Farmer, A Phillip, Roy Wilkins, and Whitney Young.
In 1964, John Lewis headed the SNCC’s efforts to register African American voters and organize communities in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer project.
After leaving the SNCC, Lewis, who had made his home in Atlanta, remained active in the civil rights movement, most notably as the director of the Voter Education Project. In 1977 a fellow Georgian, President Jimmy Carter, put Lewis in charge of ACTION, the umbrella federal volunteer agency that included the Peace and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Lewis entered elective office as an Atlanta city councilman in 1981 and in 1986 began representing a district that included Atlanta in the U.S. House of Representatives.
John Lewis has made a large impact on the world and will be dearly missed. Rest In Peace John Lewis. We love you.
Information from Encyclopedia Britannica