John Lewis: The Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement

Published on28 JUL 2014
Making Progress Towards Racial Equity

Congressman John Lewis, US representative of Georgia’s fifth congressional district, shares his experiences as a leader in the civil rights movement in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

On his call to the movement: “The action of Rosa Parks and the words and leadership of Dr. King inspired me to join the struggle for human dignity… We were [all] inspired by what I call the spirit of history.  Call it what you may, sometimes there is something that tracks a person down and it urges, ‘You must do this. If you don't act, if you don't do it, who's going to do it?’”

On his continued fight for equality: “Under the rule of the law, you cannot have equality for some and not equality for all. I fought too long and too hard against discrimination based on race and color not to fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

On the legacy of civil rights activists: “They helped change America forever. The civil rights movement [ultimately] led to the women's movement, the gay rights movement and the workers’ movement. We have witnessed what I like to call a nonviolent revolution, a revolution of values and ideas.”


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