In this Special Edition of District Deeds Sunday Reads we are providing three memorial articles honoring civil rights icon and United States Congressman John Lewis.

In this era of Black Lives Matter, we all recognize the suffering, sacrifice, courage and accomplishments of Congressman John Lewis and urge all of our readers to carry on his struggle to ensure that all citizens that are created equal are actually treated equal.


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The NAACP mourns the passing of Congressman John Lewis, a resounding civil rights giant. He fought harder and longer than anyone in our nation’s continuing battle for civil rights and equal justice.

Often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” John Lewis dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America. By 1963, Lewis was dubbed one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. At the age of 23, he was an architect and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963.

Along with Hosea Williams, John Lewis led over 600 peaceful, orderly protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965.  They intended to march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state. Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of nonviolent philosophy. 

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President Barack Obama presents a 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom to U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The civil rights giant died Friday.

In Tributes, John Lewis Remembered As An American Hero

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Tributes poured in from across the nation on Saturday for John Lewis, the civil rights icon who died Friday at the age of 80.

Lewis rose to prominence as a young civil rights activist who helped lead the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. Lewis was beaten so badly by law enforcement that he was hospitalized. “Bloody Sunday,” as it came to be known, helped spur lawmakers to pass the Voting Rights Act later that year.

Lewis would go on to serve as a Democratic congressman for the state of Georgia for more than 30 years, from the late 1980s until his death Friday. One of the most liberal members of the House of Representatives, he was known for his tireless commitment to civil rights.

“He was honored and respected as the conscience of the U.S. Congress and an icon of American history, but we knew him as a loving father and brother,” his family wrote in a statement. “He was a stalwart champion in the on-going struggle to demand respect for the dignity and worth of every human being. He dedicated his entire life to non-violent activism and was an outspoken advocate in the struggle for equal justice in America. He will be deeply missed.”


Former President Barack Obama also paid his respects to the civil rights legend. “He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise,” wrote Obama, who met Lewis while in law school. “And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.”

Obama’s last joint appearance with Lewis came earlier this year, as they both appeared in at a virtual town hall with young activists helping to lead protests after the killing of George Floyd by police officers. Afterward, Obama spoke to Lewis privately.

“I told him that all those young people — of every race, from every background and gender and sexual orientation — they were his children. They had learned from his example, even if they didn’t know it. They had understood through him what American citizenship requires, even if they had heard of his courage only through history books.

“Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way,” Obama continued. “John Lewis did.”

Vice President Pence called Lewis “a great man whose courage and decades of public service changed America forever.” And in a tweet, President Trump said he was “saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis passing. Melania and I send our prayers to he and his family.” The president also ordered the American flag to be flown at half-staff throughout the day.

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John Lewis Urges Students to Vote and Protect Immigrant Rights During Morse High Visit

by Kristen Takata  – SEP. 21, 2018

Students listen as Congressman and civil rights movement icon John Lewis, the co-author of MARCH, the comic book graphic novel trilogy, talks about his struggles for civil rights, during a visit to Morse High School, and urged the students, who all have read MARCH: Book 1, to be part of civic engagement, Photo: Howard Lipin – The San Diego Union-Tribune

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Congressman John Lewis urged a gym full of Morse High School students on Friday to vote, letting a generation largely unfamiliar with his sacrifices know he was beaten bloody while fighting for their right.

“Never give up. Never give in,” Lewis said to the students. “Get registered and vote, and we must vote like we’ve never ever voted before. People gave their lives for it. Only thing I gave, I gave a little blood.”

The 78-year-old civil rights leader came to Morse on Friday to talk about his graphic memoir “March,” a three-part book series in which Lewis recounts his life and civil rights activism, from his growing up in rural Alabama to his first meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr. to leading the march from Selma to Montgomery for black voting rights.


Students listen as Congressman and civil rights movement icon John Lewis, the co-author of MARCH, the comic book graphic novel trilogy, talks about his struggles for civil rights, during a visit to Morse High School, and urged the students, who all have read MARCH: Book 1, to be part of civic engagement, Photo: Howard Lipin – The San Diego Union-Tribune

He described how he was barred from getting a library card because he was black. In 1998, he returned to that same library that had rebuffed him to sign copies of his first book, a memoir of the civil rights movement. He finally got his library card.

The speeches of Lewis and others at Friday’s event also became rallying cries for youth to stand up to injustices that immigrants, in particular, face today.

“It doesn’t make sense in our country for hundreds and thousands and millions of people to be living in fear,” said Lewis, who has served Georgia’s 5th congressional district for more than 30 years. “It’s not right, it’s not fair and it’s not just, and history would not be kind to us.”

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Now for our Quote of the Week:

Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” – Congressman John Lewis



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