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Facts About Civil Rights Leader John Lewis

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US Representative John Lewis, a leader in the civil rights movement and a long-term US congressman, has passed on after a six-month fight with cancer at the age of 80.

Here’s a look at the life of US Representative John Lewis a civil rights leader.

Personal

Birth date: February 21, 1940

Birth place: Troy, Alabama

Birth name: John Robert Lewis

Father: Eddie Lewis, sharecropper

Mother: Willie Mae (Carter) Lewis

Marriage: Lillian Miles Lewis (Dec 21, 1968-Dec 31, 2012, her death)

Children: John Miles

Education: American Baptist Theological Seminary, B.A., 1961; Fisk University, B.A., 1967

Religion: Baptist

Other Facts about John Lewis

  • John Lewis’ skull was fractured in 1965 during an attempted voting rights walk from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama.
  • By his own calculation, John Lewis was arrested in excess of 40 times during his days of civil rights activism.

Timeline

1959-1960 – Organizes student protest exhibitions in the Nashville zone.

May 1961 – Volunteers as a Freedom Rider, challenging bus and rail isolation laws.

1963-1966 – Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

August 28, 1963 – Keynote speaker at the March on Washington.

March 7, 1965 – Helps organize a voting rights walk from Selma to Montgomery and is among 600 demonstrators assaulted by police. This day gets known as Bloody Sunday.

March 21-25, 1965 – Joins more than 3,000 demonstrators walking from Selma to Montgomery, this time under the insurance of government troops. The size of the group arrives at 25,000 when they arrive at Montgomery.

1966 – Co-founds the Southern Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam.

1966-1967 – Associate director of the Field Foundation.

1967-1970 – Community association director for the Southern Regional Council.

1970-1977 – Director of the Voter Education Project.

1977-1980 – Associate director of ACTION, a government volunteer agency. Designated by President Jimmy Carter.

1982-1986 – Atlanta city council member.

1987-present – Serves in the US House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th District.

1988 – John Lewis’ memoir, “Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement,” is published.

March 7, 2004 – The John R. Lewis Monument is uncovered in Selma, Alabama, at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge to remember the events of Bloody Sunday.

April 27, 2009 – Arrested outside the Embassy of Sudan, where he is fighting the obstruction of help to refugees in Darfur.

February 15, 2011 – President Barack Obama awards John Lewis the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

August 2013 – Top Shelf Productions publishes “March: Book One.” The graphic novel is the first of a planned trilogy, composed by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, and delineated by Nate Powell.

January 2015 – Top Shelf Productions publishes “March: Book Two.”

June 22, 2016 – John Lewis leads a sit-in on the House floor to fight inaction on gun control and attempt to push a vote forestalling individuals on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns. The exhibition draws 170 legislators. After around 25 hours, Democrats decide to end the sit-in, however, pledge to proceed with when Congress returns for their next session.

August 2016 – Top Shelf Productions publishes “March: Book Three.”

January 13, 2017 – During an interview with NBC News, John Lewis says that he doesn’t see President-elect Donald Trump as a legitimate president because of proof of Russian intruding during the approach the election. He says that he won’t go to the introduction. It will be the second time he’s boycotted an initiation in a fight. In 2001, he declined to go to the introduction of President George W. Bush, who won a nearby election after the Supreme Court ended a recount in Florida. Bush won the Electoral College even though Vice President Al Gore bested him in the famous vote.

January 14, 2017 – Trump criticizes John Lewis in a threaded tweet, “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!” Lewis reacts with an announcement in an email urging donors to promise cash to the Democratic National Committee. “Today, Donald Trump attacked me on Twitter. He said that I’m ‘all talk’ and ‘no action.’ I’ve been beaten bloody, tear-gassed, fighting for what’s right for America. I’ve marched at Selma with Dr. King. Sometimes that’s what it takes to move our country in the right direction.”

July 28, 2018 – Becomes sick while on a trip to Atlanta. Goes through one night in the hospital for undisclosed reasons and is released the next day with a “clean bill of health,” as indicated by his representative.

December 29, 2019 – In an announcement, John Lewis declares he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

July 17, 2020 – John Lewis died at 80 years old from cancer.

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