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Wed Jun 13, 2018, 07:39 PM

Rep John Robert Lewis, who was one of the protesters in hot, muggy D.C. today, is 78 years old.

The son of sharecroppers in Alabama, he had 9 brothers and sisters and had only met 2 white people by the time he was six years old.

He is a true American hero. What a life he has had.

This is from Wikipedia, which allows lengthy copying as long as it is credited. There is much, much more in this article.

Thank you, Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lewis_(civil_rights_leader)

John Robert Lewis (born February 21, 1940) is an American politician and is a prominent civil rights leader. He is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, serving since 1987, and is the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. His district includes three-quarters of Atlanta.

Lewis, who as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was one of the "Big Six" leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington, played many key roles in the Civil Rights Movement and its actions to end legalized racial segregation in the United States. He is a member of the Democratic Party leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives and has served as a Chief Deputy Whip since 1991 and Senior Chief Deputy Whip since 2003.

SNIP

Early life

John Lewis was born in Troy, Alabama, the third son of Willie Mae (née Carter) and Eddie Lewis.[1] His parents were sharecroppers.[2] Lewis grew up in Pike County, Alabama. He has several siblings, including brothers Edward, Grant, Freddie, Sammy, Adolph, and William, and sisters Ethel, Rosa, and Ora. At the age of six Lewis had seen only two white people in his life.[3] He was educated at the Pike County Training High School, Brundidge, Alabama, and also American Baptist Theological Seminary and at Fisk University, both in Nashville, Tennessee, where he became a leader in the Nashville sit-ins. While a student, he was invited to attend nonviolence workshops held in the basement of Clark Memorial United Methodist Church by the Rev. James Lawson and Rev. Kelly Miller Smith. There Lewis and many of his fellow students became dedicated adherents to the discipline and philosophy of nonviolence, which he still practices today.

The Nashville sit-in movement was responsible for the desegregation of lunch counters in downtown Nashville. Lewis was arrested and jailed many times in the nonviolent movement to desegregate the downtown area of the city. Afterwards, he participated in the Freedom Rides sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), led by James Farmer, and ultimately became a national leader in the movement for civil rights and respect for human dignity.[2] In an interview, John Lewis said, "I saw racial discrimination as a young child. I saw those signs that said 'White Men, Colored Men, White Women, Colored Women'. ... I remember as a young child with some of my brothers and sisters and first cousins going down to the public library trying to get library cards, trying to check some books out, and we were told by the librarian that the library was for whites only and not for 'coloreds'." During a childhood trip to Buffalo, New York, Lewis saw for the first time black men and white men working together, desegregating water fountains, and began to believe the dream of equality was more than just a dream. Lewis listened to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks on the radio, and he and his family supported the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Lewis met Parks in 1957 when he was 17, and he met King the following year.[4]

Civil rights activism

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Civil rights leaders meet with President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office of the White House after the March on Washington, D.C.. Left to Right – Willard Wirtz, Matthew Ahmann, Martin Luther King, Jr, John Lewis, Rabbi Joachin Prinz, Eugene Carson Blake, A. Philip Randolph, President John F. Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon Johnson, Walter Reuther, Whitney Young, Floyd McKissick. Not in order: Roy Wilkins. August 28, 1963

John Lewis was the youngest of the Big Six civil rights leaders as chairman of SNCC from 1963 to 1966, some of the most tumultuous years of the Civil Rights Movement. During his tenure, SNCC opened Freedom Schools, launched the Mississippi Freedom Summer, and organized some of the voter registration efforts during the 1965 Selma voting rights campaign. As the chairman of SNCC, Lewis had written a speech in reaction to the Civil Rights Bill of 1963. He denounced the bill because it didn't protect African Americans against police brutality or provide African Americans with the right to vote.

Lewis graduated from the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville and then received a bachelor's degree in Religion and Philosophy from Fisk University. As a student, he was very dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement. He organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Nashville and took part in many other civil rights activities as part of the Nashville Student Movement. He was instrumental in organizing student sit-ins, bus boycotts and nonviolent protests in the fight for voter and racial equality.

In 1960, Lewis became one of the 13 original Freedom Riders. There were seven whites and six blacks who were determined to ride from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans in an integrated fashion. At that time, several states of the old Confederacy still enforced laws prohibiting black and white riders from sitting next to each other on public transportation. The Freedom Ride, originated by the Fellowship of Reconciliation and revived by James Farmer and CORE, was initiated to pressure the federal government to enforce the Supreme Court decision in Boynton v. Virginia (1960) that declared segregated interstate bus travel to be unconstitutional. In the South, Lewis and other nonviolent Freedom Riders were beaten by angry mobs, arrested at times and taken to jail. When CORE gave up on the Freedom Ride because of the violence, Lewis and fellow activist Diane Nash arranged for the Nashville students to take it over and bring it to a successful conclusion.

In 1963, when Chuck McDew stepped down as SNCC chairman, Lewis, one of the founding members of SNCC, was quickly elected to take over. Lewis's experience at that point was already widely respected. His courage and his tenacious adherence to the philosophy of reconciliation and nonviolence made him emerge as a leader. By this time, he had been arrested 24 times in the nonviolent struggle for equal justice. He held the post of chairman until 1966.


Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Leaders of the march)

In 1963, as chairman of SNCC Lewis was named one of the "Big Six" leaders who were organizing the March on Washington, the occasion of Dr. King's celebrated "I Have a Dream" speech, along with Whitney Young, A. Philip Randolph, James Farmer and Roy Wilkins. Lewis also spoke at the March. Discussing the occasion, historian Howard Zinn wrote: "At the great Washington March of 1963, the chairman of the Student Nonviolent 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."[5] At 23 he was the youngest speaker that day and is the last remaining living speaker.[6]


Lewis in 1964

In 1964, Lewis coordinated SNCC's efforts for "Mississippi Freedom Summer," a campaign to register black voters across the South. 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. Lewis became nationally known during his prominent role in the Selma to Montgomery marches when, 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. 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 Brown Chapel, the movement's headquarter church in Selma. Before Lewis could be taken to the hospital, he appeared before the television cameras calling on President Johnson to intervene in Alabama. Lewis bears scars from the incident on his head that are still visible today.

Lewis and the SNCC had reason to be angry. At 21 years old, he was the first of the Freedom Riders to be assaulted while in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He tried to enter a whites-only waiting room and two white men attacked him, injuring his face and kicking him in the ribs. Nevertheless, only two weeks later Lewis joined a Freedom Ride that was bound for Jackson. "We were determined not to let any act of violence keep us from our goal. We knew our lives could be threatened, but we had made up our minds not to turn back," Lewis said recently in regard to his perseverance following the act of violence.[7]

In an interview with CNN during the 40th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, Lewis recounted the sheer amount of violence he and the 12 other original Freedom Riders endured. In Anniston, Alabama, the bus was fire-bombed after Ku Klux Klan members deflated its tires, forcing it to come to a stop. Lewis, however, was not present on that particular day. In Birmingham, the Riders were mercilessly beaten, and in Montgomery, an angry mob met the bus, and Lewis was hit in the head with a wooden crate. "It was very violent. I thought I was going to die. I was left lying at the Greyhound bus station in Montgomery unconscious," said Lewis, remembering the incident.

The original intent of the Freedom Rides was to test the new law that banned segregation in public transportation. It also exposed the passivity of the government regarding violence against citizens of the country who were simply acting in accordance to the law.[8] The federal government had trusted the notoriously racist Alabama police to protect the Riders, but did nothing itself, except to have FBI agents take notes. The Kennedy Administration then called for a cooling-off period, a moratorium on Freedom Rides.[5] Lewis had been imprisoned for forty days in the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Sunflower County, Mississippi, after participating in a Freedom Riders activity in that state.[9]

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.

SNIP


COVERAGE OF TODAY's PROTEST POSTED HERE.


https://www.democraticunderground.com/100210729005

16 replies, 1036 views

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Reply Rep John Robert Lewis, who was one of the protesters in hot, muggy D.C. today, is 78 years old. (Original post)
pnwmom Jun 13 OP
snacker Jun 13 #1
spanone Jun 13 #7
CTyankee Jun 13 #2
pnwmom Jun 13 #3
CTyankee Jun 13 #4
mcar Jun 13 #5
JoeOtterbein Jun 13 #6
Blue_true Jun 13 #12
EndGOPPropaganda Jun 13 #8
pnwmom Jun 13 #10
OnDoutside Jun 14 #15
backtoblue Jun 13 #9
bdamomma Jun 13 #11
noncliqer Jun 14 #13
pnwmom Jun 14 #14
noncliqer Jun 14 #16

Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 07:43 PM

1. John Lewis is an American treasure

and hero.

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Response to snacker (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 09:28 PM

7. YES HE IS!!!!


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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 07:51 PM

2. I had the honor of hearing him speak at my granddaughter's graduation from BU in May...

He is a great American. My eyes filled with tears when he spoke.

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 07:53 PM

3. Oh, wow. That must have been amazing. She was so lucky to have such an inspiring speaker! n/t

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #3)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 07:58 PM

4. I hope she was impressed and amazed but I don't know how much it was...

she was amazed by it all and maybe a bit overwhelmed, but we're a family of staunch liberals so I think she "got it." I am convinced she will be a Dem voter forever...

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 08:11 PM

5. To think that so-called "progressives" booed this great man

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 09:27 PM

6. Happy Birthday Congressman!

I hope you had time for yourself, family and friends today!

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Response to JoeOtterbein (Reply #6)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 10:29 PM

12. His gift today was what he was born to do, fight for those that are powerless.

A truly great American and a person that every person should strive to emulate.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 09:40 PM

8. Great pic of protest today from twitter

:large

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Response to EndGOPPropaganda (Reply #8)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 10:07 PM

10. Thanks! And welcome to DU! n/t

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Response to EndGOPPropaganda (Reply #8)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 05:47 AM

15. You can see Joe Crowley is suffering a bit at that point. Didn't realise he was so tall.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 10:06 PM

9. Kick and Rec!

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 10:14 PM

11. K&R

he deserves much respect, a dedicated Congressman.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 03:21 AM

13. A Classic

 

And a Class Act!

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Response to noncliqer (Reply #13)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 03:58 AM

14. Welcome to DU, noncliqer! n/t

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #14)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 10:44 AM

16. Thank you and thank you again

 

The second one is for kicking this thread and giving me the chance to kick it again!

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