National Federation of Democratic Women
Remember Georgia Congressman John Lewis
The passing of Georgia Congressman John Lewis is riveting.
His leadership has been a moral compass for our country for more than six decades. In 1961, this civil rights icon was one of the original Freedom Riders, and was the youngest leader to speak at the 1963 March on Washington. He then became one of the longest serving members of Congress having served his Atlanta district for more than 30 years.
Lewis was brutally clubbed during the 1965 March on Selma and a steel plate had to be inserted into his head because of the way he was beaten. He had dozens of arrests and was jailed 40 times during his civil rights non-violent work. “Good trouble” is how Lewis referred to his protests and activism.
He once said, “What we found, as we pushed our protests deeper into the heart of segregated society, was that our nonviolent actions were met with increasingly more violent responses.”
Video of Lewis being beaten in Selma was viewed throughout the nation and the horror and shock of seeing this led President Lyndon Johnson to push for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1965.
When President Barack Obama awarded Lewis the Medal of Freedom in 2011, he said, “When parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind – an American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time; whose life is a lesson in the fierce urgency of now.”
President Obama also told John Lewis that his civil rights work led to the opportunity of Obama being elected President.
On learning of the passing of Lewis, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “Today, America mourns the loss of one of the greatest heroes of American history: Congressman John Lewis, the Conscience of the Congress.”
In 2017, Congressman John Lewis visited NFDW’s National Convention that was taking place in Atlanta. He was gracious and warmly greeted NFDW members as he welcomed NFDW to his district.
NFDW President Cindy Jenks said, “We deeply grieve the loss of this great American. His service to America changed lives. He has left a tremendous legacy that will shine until the end of time.”
NFDW DNC Representative Virgie Rollins said, “We are so sad today as we remember Congressman John Lewis. Today we will dedicate getting into Good Trouble and make sure that we get the highest ever voter turnout in this election. We will miss him. We visited his office during Women in Blue. It was just awesome.”