By Porter Rodriguez
Edited by Emma Davis
John Lewis was a politician and civil rights leader who served in the House of Representatives. He recently passed away on July 17, 2020. John Lewis helped to bring about amazing strides in the Civil Rights Movement and changed the lives of thousands of people.
John Lewis was born on February 21st, 1940 in Troy, Alabama. As a student in college, he dedicated his time to organizing and participating in various marches, sit-ins, and boycotts. In 1965, he led one of the largest civil rights marches ever- the march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama. While marching, Lewis and the other 600 men and women were assaulted by 150 policemen and state troopers. The authorities were wielding clubs, bullwhips, and tear gas. Lewis was one of the 50 people sent to the nearest hospital that night after he suffered a skull fracture. This march later became known as “Bloody Sunday”. Televised videos and pictures of this event outraged the American people, and eight days later, President Lyndon B Johnson moved to put the Voting Right Act into effect, which was a huge step for the civil rights movement. Now being able to vote, African-American voters all around the country began to change racist policies and allowed other Black people to be able to run for public office.
The Conscience of Congress:
Lewis represented Georgia's 5th Congressional District from 1988 to 2018. He was re-elected 16 times. His fellow Congresspeople called him,”The Conscience of Congress” because he always fought for the disadvantaged people of the country. Especially in times right now when the civil rights movement is as important as ever, John Lewis was still very vocal during the tragic killing of George Floyd.
John Lewis was an incredible figure in American history, and his legacy has impacted the lives of millions of people for the better.