Born February 21, 1940
John Robert Lewis was elected to Congress in 1986, serving in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District. He held several leadership positions in the House, including Senior Chief Deputy Whip, and was a member of the House Ways and Committee as well as the Congressional Black Caucus. He earned degrees from the American Baptist Theological Seminary and Fisk University. He began his career as a civil rights organizer in 1960 during the Nashville sit-in movement and as a Freedom Rider. He helped plan the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and rose to national prominence after he and Hosea Williams led the 1965 Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, where he and other peaceful protestors were attacked and beaten on the Edmund Pettis bridge. His commitment to civil rights and social justice has been the hallmark of his career, and he has received multiple national and international awards for his work, including the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” award, and a National Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2010. He wrote multiple best-selling books and continued his work in Congress as a human and civil rights advocate until he passed away on July 17, 2020 at the age of 80. You can view Kunhardt Films Foundation's tribute to Congressman John Lewis here.