John Lewis
U.S. Congressman
John Lewis
John Robert Lewis is the U.S. Representative for, serving since 1987. He was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), playing a key role in the struggle to end segregation. He is a member of the Democratic Party and is one of the most liberal legislators.
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The 'Terrorist' In The White House
Huffington Post - 3 days
Donald Trump got elected as U.S. President on a platform that included a lot of changes that appealed to many people. Trump promised to “Make America Great Again” by bringing back the high paying jobs that had moved overseas thanks to a Democratic Party that did nothing to stop them. Trump would also make “America Safe Again” by tightening the immigration system to keep out Jihadist Terrorists, Muslims and refugees. He would also send back to Mexico all the illegal Mexicans, many of whom are “criminal.” Trump’s first month of whirlwind Presidential activity and tweeting, instead of establishing a confident and promising outlook about a Renewed America, produced a high level of domestic chaos at home and international chaos abroad. Our business leaders became apprehensive and our foreign allies became uncomfortable about what was happening in the U.S. In four weeks, the “so-called” President has managed to do what Al-Qaeda couldn’t – he has created a climate of fear across the w ...
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9 Parents On How They're Teaching Their Kids To Resist Bigotry
Huffington Post - 6 days
For HuffPost’s #LoveTakesAction series, we’re telling stories of how people are standing up to hate and supporting those most threatened now. Tell us what you stand up for, with #LoveTakesAction. For progressive parents, the 2016 election was devastating, especially for those of us whose kids had gotten involved in the election process. While raising kids under a Trump regime is less than pleasant, the next four years will certainly offer up many opportunities for teaching moments with our kids.  This is how nine real parents plan to teach their kids kindness, acceptance and yes, resistance moving forward. 1. “They will continue to rally, protest, march, hold candles, attend events, donate time and energy alongside their father and me.” We are a mixed-race family in a predominately white area. I’m very involved in activism on a local level and my kids have been to meetings, vigils, days of service, cultural events, etc, since they were babies. That has only intensif ...
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Book Passage in Sausalito: A New Outlet Offers Hope, Community, and Yes, Books
Huffington Post - 14 days
In these strange and often scary (but rebellious!) times, I'm sure I'm not the only one finding hopeful signs in whatever I can: a new baby, a sunny day, the fact that books by Rep. John Lewis, George Orwell, Sinclair Lewis, and, most recently, the long-departed Frederick Douglass are flying off the shelves (a small upside to having the country's least-literate president in office). And speaking of books, the literary website (highly recommended!), taking note of "the growing number of regularly scheduled book events across the U.S.," just introduced a bimonthly column about community-based reading series. "Pages may be written in solitude, but the mingling and exchange of ideas at literary gatherings can be revitalizing for writers and lit enthusiasts, especially for those living in isolated areas outside cultural hubs." Here in the Bay Area, of course, we are far from isolated, part of a vast cultural hub. A major hub within that hub is my local bookstore, Book Passa ...
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Dear So-Called President Trump: Where's My Protest Paycheck?
Huffington Post - 15 days
Dear So-Called President Trump: I was among the roughly five million Americans who took to the streets in cities across the country a few weeks ago in opposition to your outrageous policies regarding women, Muslims, school children, immigrants, workers, the environment, and people who need health care. (That’s me in the photo above with my 20-year-old daughter, Sarah). I left my home around 7 a.m., took the subway from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles, and participated in the demonstration — marching, holding signs, shouting chants, listening to speakers and musicians — until about 4 p.m. I got back on the subway and returned to my house around 5 p.m. In other words, I spent about 10 hours involved in the protest. That was the largest one-day protest in American history. A majority of the five million participants (750,000 in L.A. alone) were protesting for the first time. I didn’t really understand what brought them out to protest on a sunny Saturday when they could have been doi ...
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Mark Hamill Finally Explains Those Joker-Trump Impersonations
Huffington Post - 23 days
Mark Hamill has voiced animated versions of the Joker for the DC Universe since 1992. By now, his take on the villain is fairly inseparable from the popular imagination of the Joker, rivaled only by Heath Ledger’s too-brief take on the role for the 2008 movie “The Dark Knight.” So when Hamill decided to start reading tweets made by Donald Trump as the famous Batman nemesis, the audio recordings obviously garnered many “Ha! Ha! Ha’s!” and overly-wide smiles perhaps too similar to the devilish source material. The idea originated from Matt Oswalt (Patton Oswalt’s brother), who suggested on Twitter that a particular tweet by Donald Trump sounded like “something the Joker would say right before releasing a swarm of killer bees into Gotham.” That specific Trump tweet read, “Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!” Hamill responded to Oswalt that he was up for doing the Joker voice. A ...
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Amazon Is Running Out Of Dystopian Books That Eerily Reflect Our Present Political Moment
Huffington Post - 24 days
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism.  One by one, classic books depicting dystopian dictatorships ― and the factors that allow such governments to “happen here” ― have been shooting to the top of Amazon’s hourly-updated best-seller lists, and, in some cases, selling out on the site, leaving publishers rushing to fulfill demand. It’s a fitting sequel to the dire l ...
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Dems Come Out To Airports Around The Country To Support Muslims, Refugees
Huffington Post - 25 days
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); For the second time in a week, Donald Trump sparked large-scale protests across the country, this time for an executive order that targeted Muslims and refugees. But unlike the Women’s March that took place the day after his inauguration, however, Saturday’s protests at airports across the country were attended by elected officials eager to help channel the umbrage over the detention of refugees and even some green card holders. Democratic lawmakers joi ...
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Dems Come Out To Airports Around The Country To Support Muslims, Refugees
Huffington Post - 25 days
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); For the second time in a week, Donald Trump sparked large-scale protests across the country, this time for an executive order that targeted Muslims and refugees. But unlike the Women’s March that took place the day after his inauguration, however, Saturday’s protests at airports across the country were attended by elected officials eager to help channel the umbrage over the detention of refugees and even some green card holders. Democratic lawmakers joi ...
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Paying Tribute To Congressman John Lewis In The Face Of Trump’s Travesty
Huffington Post - 28 days
Not long after we sang, “If I Had a Hammer” and “Blowing In the Wind,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took the stage to deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech. Mary took my hand and whispered to me, “Peter, we are watching history being made.” Mary, Noel Paul and I knew it, and a quarter of a million people at that March on Washington knew it. But it was not until many years later that we realized that this 1963 March on Washington not only signaled the coming-of-age of the civil rights movement, but that this movement would reverse much (not all, of course) of the previously intractable legacy of slavery that was just accepted as “the way it was” and, ultimately, this movement would usher in the election of a person of color as President of the United States. At the time, such a possibility was inconceivable. Why is this march, this movement, so important to remember today? Because beyond that triumph, that march gave us another great gift. From that point on, and because of the move ...
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High-Profile Progressives Can Literally Drive Trump Bananas
Huffington Post - 29 days
Here's a known fact: President Donald Trump has a very, very fragile ego. There is no limit to his butthurt when challenged or mocked, and if you have a large platform, you're in a unique position to chip away at whatever shred of sanity he has left. Consider these points: White House sources recently told The Washington Post that Trump became "visibly enraged" after learning the Women's March dwarfed the crowd at his inauguration and that his joyful mood turned into "flashes of anger" less than 24-hours after he took office. It's also very clear Alec Baldwin has lodged himself under Donald Trump's thin skin, and he's only just getting started. Baldwin's portrayal of Trump on Saturday Night Live is not only awe-inspiring and hysterical, it's the perfect vehicle to showcase much-needed resistance, and most importantly, it drives Trump mad. We all know it drives him mad because he takes the bait and angry-tweets about it every time. When Congressman John Lewis said he would be ...
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of John Lewis
  • 2012
    Age 72
    In 2012, Lewis was awarded honorary LL.D. degrees from Brown University, Harvard University, and the University of Connecticut School of Law.
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  • 2011
    Age 71
    In 2011, Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
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  • 2010
    Age 70
    On November 17, 2010, Lewis was awarded the First LBJ Liberty and Justice for All Award, given to him by the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation.
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  • 2009
    Age 69
    A December 2009 report on privately financed Congressional travel by The New York Times found Lewis to be recipient of the most trips since 2007, with a total of 40.
    More Details Hide Details Lewis is a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.. He has a son named John-Miles and a wife named Lillian. He also has a deaf brother named Edward. He has other siblings such as his brothers Grant, Freddie, Sammy, Adolph, and William. He also has three sisters named Ethel, Rosa, and Ora. He grew up in Pike County, Alabama. He was in the middle of a tornado at age 4 with 14 other children that were his cousins. He had only seen 2 white people in his life until age 6. The church he attended was attacked by the Ku Klux Klan in 1904. In 1999, Lewis was awarded the Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan in recognition of his courageous lifelong commitment to the defense of civil and human rights. In 2002, he was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.
    In February 2009, forty-eight years after he had been bloodied by the Ku Klux Klan during civil rights marches, Lewis received an apology on national television from a white southerner, former Klansman Elwin Wilson.
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  • 2008
    Age 68
    On February 14, 2008, however, he announced he was considering withdrawing his support from Clinton and might instead cast his superdelegate vote for Barack Obama: "Something is happening in America and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap."
    More Details Hide Details Ben Smith of Politico said that “it would be a seminal moment in the race if John Lewis were to switch sides.”
    2008 Presidential election At first Lewis supported Hillary Rodham Clinton, endorsing her presidential campaign on October 12, 2007.
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    In October 2008, Lewis issued a statement criticizing the campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin and accusing them of “sowing the seeds of hatred and division” in a way that brought to mind the late Gov. George Wallace and “another destructive period” in American political history.
    More Details Hide Details McCain said he was "saddened" by the criticism from "a man I’ve always admired", and called on Obama to repudiate Lewis’s statement. Obama responded to the statement, saying that he "does not believe that John McCain or his policy criticism is in any way comparable to George Wallace or his segregationist policies.” Lewis later issued a follow-up statement clarifying that the he had not compared McCain and Palin to Wallace himself, but rather that his earlier statement was a "reminder to all Americans that toxic language can lead to destructive behavior." The comparison also evokes a comparison to the history of Wallace's politics, who began his career as a moderate. When he lost his first bid as governor to John Patterson, he said he would never be "outniggered" again and consciously determined to use the politics of race to win the seat the next time he ran. John Lewis lived through this history, realizing that the hostility of Wallace's words created a climate and an environment that gave license to unchecked violence against African American communities. This is the history he was calling upon when he offered his original statement, warning against using toxic language merely for the sake of politics that can end in violence against other human beings
    On February 27, 2008, Lewis formally changed his support and endorsed Obama.
    More Details Hide Details After Obama clinched the Democratic nomination for president, Lewis said “If someone had told me this would be happening now, I would have told them they were crazy, out of their mind, they didn’t know what they were talking about... I just wish the others were around to see this day.... To the people who were beaten, put in jail, were asked questions they could never answer to register to vote, it’s amazing.” Despite switching his support to Obama, Lewis' support of Clinton for several months led to criticism from his constituents. One of his challengers in the House primary election set up campaign headquarters inside the building that served as Obama's Georgia office.
  • 2004
    Age 64
    Lewis was one of 31 House members who voted not to count the electoral votes from Ohio in the 2004 presidential election.
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    In the 2004 Presidential race, Lewis endorsed Senator John Kerry (Democrat).
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  • 2003
    Age 63
    Protests In March 2003, Lewis spoke to a crowd of 30,000 in Oregon during an anti-war protest before the start of the Iraq War.
    More Details Hide Details He was arrested in 2006 and 2009 and outside the Sudan embassy to in protest against the genocide in Darfur. Endorsements Lewis was asked at a news conference whether he would support Joe Lieberman for re-election to the Senate in 2006 after Lieberman's loss to Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary. He simply said that Lieberman "was a good man." That was taken to mean that he endorsed Lieberman in the race. Actually he had been invited to Connecticut by another member of Congress and had made no plan to formally endorse Lieberman.
  • 2002
    Age 62
    In 2002, he sponsored the Peace Tax Fund bill, a conscientious objection to military taxation initiative that had been reintroduced yearly since 1972.
    More Details Hide Details Lewis was a "fierce partisan critic of President Bush" and the Iraq war. The Associated Press said he was "the first major House figure to suggest impeaching George W. Bush," arguing that the president "deliberately, systematically violated the law" in authorizing the National Security Agency to conduct wiretaps without a warrant. Lewis said, "He is not King, he is president." Lewis draws on his historical involvement in the civil rights movement as part of his politics. He "makes an annual pilgrimage to Alabama to retrace the route he marched in 1965 from Selma to Montgomery – a route Lewis has since had declared part of the Historic National Trails program. That trip has become one of the hottest tickets in Washington among lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, eager to associate themselves with Lewis and the movement. 'We don't deliberately set out to win votes, but it's very helpful,' Lewis said of the trip".
  • 2001
    Age 61
    In 2001, three days after the September 11 attacks, Lewis voted to give Bush authority to retaliate in a vote that was 420–1; Lewis called it probably one of his toughest votes.
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  • 1998
    Age 58
    In 1998, when Clinton was considering a military strike against Iraq, Lewis said he would back the president if American forces were ordered into action.
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  • 1994
    Age 54
    What does it profit a great nation to conquer the world, only to lose its soul?" In 1994, when Clinton was considering invading Haiti, Lewis, in contrast to the Congressional Black Caucus as a whole, opposed armed intervention.
    More Details Hide Details When Clinton did send troops to Haiti, Lewis called for supporting the troops and called the intervention a "mission of peace".
  • 1992
    Age 52
    In 1992, he defeated State Representative Mable Thomas 76%–24%.
    More Details Hide Details In 2008, Thomas decided to challenge Lewis again, as well as the Reverend Markel Hutchins. Lewis defeated Hutchins and Thomas 69%–16%-15%. John Lewis has been labeled a "far-left Democratic leader" by GovTrack and a "Hard-Core Liberal" by Issues2000. The Washington Post described Lewis in 1998 as "a fiercely partisan Democrat but... also fiercely independent." Lewis characterized himself as a strong and adamant liberal. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said Lewis was the "only former major civil rights leader who extended his fight for human rights and racial reconciliation to the halls of Congress". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also said that to "those who know him, from U.S. senators to 20-something congressional aides", he is called the "conscience of Congress". Lewis has cited former Florida Senator and Congressman Claude Pepper, a staunch liberal, as being the colleague that he has most admired. Lewis has spoken out in support of gay rights and national health insurance, and he has worked with the Faith and Politics Institute to advance their goals.
    He was only challenged in the Democratic primary twice: in 1992 and 2008.
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  • 1988
    Age 48
    1988–2012 During this time period Lewis was re-elected 17 times, each time winning with at least 69% of the vote.
    More Details Hide Details His worst election performance was in 1994, when he defeated Republican Dale Dixon by a 38 point margin, 69%–31%.
  • 1981
    Age 41
    In 1981, Lewis was elected to the Atlanta City Council. 1977 In January 1977, incumbent Democrat U.S. Congressman Andrew Young, of Georgia's 5th congressional district, decided to resign in order to become the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. under President Jimmy Carter.
    More Details Hide Details In the March 1977 open primary, Atlanta City Councilman Wyche Fowler, Jr. ranked first with 40% of the vote, failing to reach the 50% threshold to win outright. Lewis ranked second with 29% of the vote. In the April election, Fowler defeated Lewis 62%–38%. 1986 After nine years of being a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Congressman Fowler decided to retire in order to run for the U.S. Senate. Lewis decided to run for the 5th district again. In the August primary, State Representative Julian Bond ranked first with 47%, just three points shy of winning outright. Lewis earned 35% in second place. In the run-off, Lewis pulled an upset against Bond, defeating him 52%–48%. In the November general election, he defeated Republican Portia Scott 75%–25%.
    Before being elected to Atlanta City Council in 1981, Lewis faced "years of criticism as a holier-than-thou publicity seeker who challenged city leaders on ethical matters".
    More Details Hide Details In the context of the "war on drugs", Lewis challenged Julian Bond to take a urine drug test during the 1986 Democratic runoff. The Houston Chronicle called it "perhaps the best-known example" of congressional candidates challenging their opponents to drug testing. The challenge could have served in Lewis' favor in his upset win as "there were signs that it may have damaged Bond among older black voters concerned about drug abuse among blacks".
  • 1980
    Age 40
    He held that job for two and a half years, resigning as the 1980 election approached.
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  • 1977
    Age 37
    A special election was called in 1977 after President Jimmy Carter appointed incumbent U.S. Congressman Andrew Young to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
    More Details Hide Details In the Democratic special primary, Lewis and fellow Atlanta City Councilman Wyche Fowler qualified for the run-off primary because no candidate reached the 50% threshold and they were the top two candidates. Fowler defeated Lewis 62%–38%. In 1986, when Fowler retired to run for the United States Senate, Lewis defeated fellow civil rights leader and State Senator Julian Bond in the run-off primary 52%–48%. This upset win was tantamount to election in the heavily Democratic, majority-black 5th District, Lewis won the 1986 general election with 75% of the vote. Lewis was the second African-American to represent Georgia in Congress since Reconstruction. (Young was the first.) In 1988, he won re-election with 78% of the vote. In the 1990s, his lowest winning percentage was 69% in 1994. In 2010, he won re-election with 74% of the vote. Since 1991, Lewis has been senior chief deputy whip in the Democratic caucus.
    After his unsuccessful bid for Congress in 1977, Lewis was without a job and in debt from his campaign.
    More Details Hide Details He accepted a position with the Carter administration as associate director of ACTION, responsible for running the VISTA program, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, and the Foster Grandparent Program.
    Lewis first ran for elective office in 1977, when a vacancy occurred in Georgia's 5th congressional district.
    More Details Hide Details A special election was called after President Jimmy Carter appointed incumbent U.S. Congressman Andrew Young to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Lewis lost the race to Atlanta City Councilman and future U.S. Senator Wyche Fowler.
  • 1966
    Age 26
    After leaving SNCC in 1966, Lewis worked with community organizations and was named community affairs director for the National Consumer Co-op Bank in Atlanta.
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  • 1965
    Age 25
    On March 7, 1965—a day that would become known as "Bloody Sunday" – Lewis and fellow activist Hosea Williams led over 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
    More Details Hide Details At the end of the bridge, they were met by Alabama State Troopers, who ordered them to disperse. When the marchers stopped to pray, the police discharged tear gas and mounted troopers charged the demonstrators, beating them with night sticks. Lewis's skull was fractured, but he escaped across the bridge, to a church in Selma. Before he could be taken to the hospital, John Lewis appeared before the television cameras calling on President Johnson to intervene in Alabama. Lewis bears scars on his head that are still visible today. Historian Howard Zinn wrote: "At the great Washington March of 1963, the chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), John Lewis, speaking to the same enormous crowd that heard Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech, was prepared to ask the right question: 'Which side is the federal government on?’ That sentence was eliminated from his speech by organizers of the March to avoid offending the Kennedy Administration. But Lewis and his fellow SNCC workers had experienced, again and again, the strange passivity of the national government in the face of Southern violence."
  • 1964
    Age 24
    In 1964, Lewis coordinated SNCC's efforts for "Mississippi Freedom Summer," a campaign to register black voters across the South.
    More Details Hide Details The Freedom Summer was an attempt to expose college students from around the country to the perils of African American life in the South. Lewis traveled the country encouraging students to spend their summer break trying to help people in Mississippi, the most recalcitrant state in the union, to register and vote. During the first days of the Freedom Summer, three civil rights workers were murdered who had been sent out to investigate the burning of a black church whereLewis became nationally known during his prominent role in the Selma to Montgomery marches.
  • 1963
    Age 23
    In that year, Lewis helped plan the historic March on Washington in August 1963, the occasion of Dr. King's celebrated "I Have a Dream" speech.
    More Details Hide Details Currently, he is the last remaining speaker from the march. Lewis represented SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and at 23 was the youngest speaker that day.
    By 1963, he was recognized as one of the "Big Six" leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, along with Whitney Young, A.
    More Details Hide Details Phillip Randolph, James Farmer and Roy Wilkins.
    In 1963, when Chuck McDew stepped down as SNCC chairman, Lewis, one of the founding members of SNCC, was quickly elected to take over.
    More Details Hide Details Lewis's experience at that point was already widely respected. His courage and his tenacious adherence to the philosophy of reconciliation and non-violence made him emerge as a leader. By this time he had been arrested 24 times in the non-violent struggle for equal justice. He held the post of chairman until 1966.
  • 1961
    Age 21
    In 1961, Lewis joined the Freedom Riders.
    More Details Hide Details He was one of the 13 original Freedom Riders. There were seven whites and six blacks who were determined to ride from Washington, DC to New Orleans in an integrated fashion. At that time it was illegal in the eleven states of the old Confederacy for black and white riders to sit next to each other on public transportation. The Freedom Ride, originated by the Fellowship of Reconciliation and revisited by Farmer and CORE, was initiated to test a Supreme Court decision that desegregated interstate travel. The Freedom Riders traveled South challenging to test that decision. Lewis and other non-violent passengers were beaten by angry mobs, arrested at times and taken to jail.
  • 1940
    Age 0
    Born on February 21, 1940.
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