Who is John Lewis?
John Robert Lewis is an African American born politician and human right activist.
John Lewis was born on February 21, 1940. He died on July 17, 2020. He was an American statesman and civil-rights leader who served in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District from 1987 until he died in 2020.
John Lewis was serving as the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating-Committee (SNCC) from 1963 till 1966.
John Lewis was one of the “Big Six” leaders of groups that organized the March 1963 meeting in Washington. He played many vital roles in the civil rights movement and its efforts to end legalized segregation in American society.
As a devoted active member of the Democratic Party, Lewis was first elected to Congress in 1986 and served 17 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Because of his tenure, he became Dean of the Congressional Delegation in Georgia. The District he represented covered most of Atlanta.
54 years ago today, we were beaten, tear gassed, trampled by horses, and left bloody on that bridge in Selma. But we cannot rest. We cannot become weary. We must honor those who gave their lives for the right to vote. We must continue to find a way to get in the way. #goodtrouble pic.twitter.com/Utygfx9hzc
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) March 7, 2019
He was the Democratic Party Chairman in the U.S. House of Representatives and served as Chief Deputy Whip from 1991 and Senior Chief Deputy Whip from 2003. Lewis has received many honorary degrees and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
John Lewis Early life and education
John Robert Lewis was born on February 21, 1940, outside Troy, Alabama, the third of ten children of Willie Mae and Eddie Lewis. His parents were partners in rural Pike County, Alabama.
As a young boy, Lewis aspired to be a preacher, and at the age of five, he preached to his family’s chickens on the farm. As a small child, Lewis had little contact with white people. When Lewis was just six years old, he had only seen two white people in his life.
As he grew older, he took his family on trips to the city where he experienced racism and segregation, for example, in the public library in Troy.
John Lewis had relatives who lived in northern cities, and he learned from them that the north had integrated schools, buses and businesses. When Lewis was eleven years old, an uncle took him to Buffalo, New York, to draw his attention to Troy’s separation.
In 1955 Lewis Martin heard Luther King Jr. on the radio for the first time and followed the bus boycott of King’s Montgomery later that year closely. At the age of 15, Lewis preached his first public sermon.
Lewis met Rosa Parks at 17 and King at 18 for the first time. After writing King that he was denied admission to Troy University in Alabama, Lewis was invited to a meeting.
59 years ago today I was released from Parchman Farm Penitentiary after being arrested in Jackson, MS for using a so-called “white” restroom during the Freedom Rides of 1961. pic.twitter.com/OUfgeaNDOm
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) July 7, 2020
King, who called Lewis “the boy from Troy“, discussed suing the university for discrimination, but warned Lewis that this could endanger his lovely family in Troy. After presenting the issue with his parents, Lewis decided to continue his education at a small, historically black college in Tennessee.
Lewis had graduated from the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, and was ordained, Baptist minister. He then received a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy from Fisk University. John Lewis was also a member of the Phi Beta Sigma Brotherhood.
Early Government Work (1977-1986)
In January 1977, the incumbent U.S. Democratic Congressman Andrew Young resigned from the 5th Congressional District of Georgia to become U.S. Ambassador to the United States under President Jimmy Carter.
In 1981, Lewis ran for a seat on Atlanta City Council. He won 69% of the vote and served on the council until 1986.
Elections to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986
After nine years as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Fowler gave up the seat to run unbeaten for the U.S. Senate. Lewis decided to run again for the 5th District. In the August Democratic primary, where victory was considered synonymous with an election, State Representative Julian Bond took first place with 47%, just three points from the final victory.
John Lewis book
In 2013, John Lewis became the first member of Congress to write a graphic novel, launching a trilogy entitled March. The March Trilogy is a black and white comic trilogy about the civil rights movement, told from the perspective of civil rights activist and US Congressman John Lewis.
55 years ago today, we were beaten, tear gassed, and trampled by horses. I thought I saw death. I thought I was going to die. I don’t know how I made it back, but I know we cannot rest. We cannot become weary. We must keep pushing and pulling and find a way to get in the way. pic.twitter.com/gg6n1CyJls
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) March 7, 2020
The first volume, March: Book One was written by Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated and lettered by Nate Powell and published in August 2013, the second volume, March: Book Two was published in January 2015 and the last volume, March: Book Three, was published in August 2016.
In 2018, Lewis and Andrew Aydin jointly wrote another graphic novel as a continuation of the March series, entitled Run. The graphic novel takes up the events in Lewis’ life after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.
Civil Rights leader Rep. John Lewis on President Trump’s racist tweets: “What he said, and what he continues to say, is racist. It is racism. You cannot hide it. You cannot sweep it under the American rug.” https://t.co/XcDKbjZ1ui pic.twitter.com/sPQDLL1JNd
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) July 16, 2019
Personal life and death
Lewis met Lillian Miles at a New Year’s Eve party of Xernona Clayton. They married in 1968. Together they had a son named John-Miles Lewis. Lillian died on December 31, 2012.
John Lewis Health
On December 29 2019, Lewis announced that he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. He remained in the Washington DC area for his treatment.
John Lewis Death
On July 17, 2020, Lewis died at the age of 80 after a six-month battle against the disease in Atlanta on the same day as his friend and fellow citizen C.T. Vivian. Lewis was the last surviving “Big Six” civil rights icon.
John Lewis Bio Wiki
John Robert Lewis
February 21, 1940
|Died||July 17, 2020 (aged 80)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
|Cause of death||Pancreatic cancer|
|Resting place||South-View Cemetery
Lillian Miles (m. 1968; died 2012)
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