Rep. John Lewis (Wikimedia Commons)
Recently, Congressman John Lewis (D, Georgia-5) has been in the news several times. Firstly, Congressman Lewis gave a speech which harshly criticized Senator Jeff Sessions’ appointment as attorney general when he and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) testified at Senator Sessions’ confirmation hearing. After that, Mr. Lewis stated that he will not attend President-Elect Trump’s inauguration as president. Lewis stated that he believed that Trump’s victory was illegitimate due to Russian interference. Trump later lashed out at Congressman Lewis via twitter, saying that Lewis should focus on his district in Georgia which Trump said was “crime filled” and called John Lewis, “All talk…no action.” Mr. Trump’s comments drew criticism from many people due to their divisiveness and due to the fact that he attacked a civil rights leader on Martin Luther King weekend.
John Lewis grew up in an impoverished family in the segregated deep southern state of Alabama. His parents were sharecroppers, people who worked for farmers in return for a very small portion of their crop. Lewis attended university in Nashville, Tennesee and later moved to Montgomery, Alabama where he participated in the bus boycott and worked closely with Rosa Parks. As he joined more protests across the south, John Lewis became a prominent leader in the fight for civil rights. Lewis became a close aide to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped lead the march on Selma, Alabama for voting rights and the famous March on Washington where Dr. King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech. Congressman John Lewis now leads the Congressional Black Caucus and devotes much of his time to issues that affect people of color. Lewis is still a revered figure among the Black community and among modern civil rights activists.