Civil rights icon, congressman commemorates Voting Rights Act
August 6th, 2014
11:07 AM ET
5 months ago

Civil rights icon, congressman commemorates Voting Rights Act

Months after leading the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, civil rights leader John Lewis stood by President Lyndon B. Johnson and watched the Voting Rights Act become law.

Forty-nine years later, Lewis, now a congressman from Georgia, commemorated the landmark legislation by taking to a relatively new forum for social movements - Twitter.

In the 1960s, Lewis chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, leading the push to register African-American voters across the South.

His non-violent tactics were often met with brutal opposition.

As about 600 protesters began their march from Selma to Montgomery in March 1965, police officers and Alabama state troopers fell on the group with clubs, whips and tear gas.

Lewis suffered a blow to the head from a state trooper during the march, and fractured his skull.

The attack marked a turning point in the Civil Rights movement. Lewis later testified at a federal hearing about the march and, days later, thousands of marchers set out again - this time protected by National Guard troops.


Filed under: John Lewis
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. rs

    This gentleman is a real-live American hero, and he still has to fight for equality- not only for all Americans, but even to be heard in Mr. Issa's witch hunt hearings.

    August 6, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. pkrbkr

    And still today there is movement to make voting difficult.....sad! So many fought and suffered greatly to achieve this great right! PLEASE let's stop this insanity of Voter ID! If it ain't broke, don't fix it! And it AIN"T broke!

    August 6, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    As about 600 protesters began their march from Selma to Montgomery in March 1965, police officers and Alabama state troopers fell on the group with clubs, whips and tear gas.
    -----------------------------–
    Don't forget the dogs. They turned attack dogs loose on the marchers, too. Fire hoses. All of it was despicable.

    August 6, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lewis suffered a blow to the head from a state trooper during the march, and fractured his skull.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Lewis suffered a blow to the head from a state trooper during the march THAT fractured his skull.
    Unless Mr. Lewis took it upon himself to fracture his own skull....Jeez.
    I would like to thank Mr. Lewis for his efforts, and submit to him and all the other Congress critters to get off their duffs and start submitting alternatives to the parts of the Voting Rights Act that were shot down and suddenly deemed too harsh for states to comply with in states like Florida, where voter suppression runs rampant.
    So, let's cut the commemorating short and let's get some work done before we find ourselves right smack in the middle of 1950's 'meriku....again.

    August 6, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. sonny chapman

    He fought against the Evil of his day;and won. That evil was also semi-hidden(Poll Taxes, Literacy Tests) just like today's Evil( Voter ID, Fictitious Voter Fraud). The Evil in Humans Hearts never goes away. Other Humans must always be vigilant; unfortunately.

    August 6, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "49 yrs ago today, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law. President Johnson gave me one of the pens he used."

    And 49 years later there are still those who would absolutely repress across the aisle voters if ONLY to put a "win" in their column.

    August 6, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. Silence DoGood

    @pkrbkr
    And still today there is movement to make voting difficult.....sad! So many fought and suffered greatly to achieve this great right! PLEASE let's stop this insanity of Voter ID! If it ain't broke, don't fix it! And it AIN"T broke!
    ---------------–
    That's right – it is not broken. Conservatives have whipped up very minor or nonexistent voter issues into a vast conspiracy theory. Most investigations have fallen flat. What happened with the Mississippi TP "investigation"? Nothing. Voter ID is the new Poll Tax, which was started to suppress the black vote. It is now unconstitutional by Amendment.

    August 6, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. it must be said

    rs
    This gentleman is a real-live American hero, and he still has to fight for equality- not only for all Americans, but even to be heard in Mr. Issa's witch hunt hearings.
    --

    Cummings is the person you are thinking of, not Lewis. I know they all look the same to you. Oivay,,,

    August 6, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Rep. Lewis, you sir are a true American hero! Thank you for all of your hard work. If not for you and countless others.... I shudder to think. I saw you get assaulted sitting at that lunch counter and my heart broke for you and all the others fighting for our rights.

    People if you haven't seen the documentary entitled African-Americans, Many Rivers to Cross, it's a really good one. Very enlightening.

    RIP Viola Liuzzo. A wonderful woman that lost her life fighting for equal rights for blacks.

    August 6, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. morebs

    I thought it was against the law to make someone pay to vote, because that to me seems like what you are doing when you have to pay to go get id.

    August 6, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. just asking

    did he acknowledge and thank the republicans that voted for it and made it all happen? didn't think so.

    August 6, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. salty dog

    Take your shot while you can IMBS, you don't often get them.

    August 6, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. yeahright

    Cummings is the person you are thinking of, not Lewis. I know they all look the same to you. Oivay,,,
    --------

    Classy, real classy.

    August 6, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. salty dog

    It took a third march to get across the bridge, and knowing people have lost the understanding of how much was sacrificed to get there, shame on them! As a union rep, I'm appalled at the same attitude towards our unions, ever ask yourself why the gop hates them so much? They are trying to destroy them, in an effort to give control to the rich, very immature and short sighted to blindly hate them because the gop tells you to, that would be reason to support them that much more.

    August 6, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. smith1

    a true American. Sad that 49 years latter we are still fighting the invasive and corrupt voting laws proposed by the republican party. Thanks to people like Mr. Lewis we will prevail. This man is a class act as is our President. Equal rights for all. Race gender or religion should be respected by all.

    August 6, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    t must be said

    rs
    This gentleman is a real-live American hero, and he still has to fight for equality- not only for all Americans, but even to be heard in Mr. Issa's witch hunt hearings.
    -

    Cummings is the person you are thinking of, not Lewis. I know they all look the same to you. Oivay,,
    ========================================================
    Good grief. I guess having nothing to do with it explains why Johnson gave him a pen at the signing ceremony.

    August 6, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. Ol' Yeller

    And still getting spit upon by te abag gers to this day.
    The remnants of the haters still walk among us....

    August 6, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. sonny chapman

    PS-Ronald Reagan gave one of his Announcement Speeches of Intent to be Prez at Philadelphia, Miss. Site of 3 Civil Rights Murders. Classy Guy.

    August 6, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. smith

    So having to show an ID is now racist and invasive? Remind me to file a lawsuit the next time I get asked for my ID to buy a beer..smh

    August 6, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    just asking

    did he acknowledge and thank the republicans that voted for it and made it all happen? didn't think so.
    ----------------------------–
    A funny thing happened on the way to the signing ceremony. The Republicans that voted for it became Democrats.

    August 6, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. rs

    it must be said

    rs
    This gentleman is a real-live American hero, and he still has to fight for equality- not only for all Americans, but even to be heard in Mr. Issa's witch hunt hearings.
    -

    Cummings is the person you are thinking of, not Lewis. I know they all look the same to you. Oivay,,,
    ___________________
    A sincere thank you for the correction- and for your unneccessary racist comment. I guess times haven't changed all that much, eh?

    August 6, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    salty dog says:
    August 6, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm
    It took a third march to get across the bridge, and knowing people have lost the understanding of how much was sacrificed to get there, shame on them! As a union rep, I’m appalled at the same attitude towards our unions, ever ask yourself why the gop hates them so much? They are trying to destroy them, in an effort to give control to the rich, very immature and short sighted to blindly hate them because the gop tells you to, that would be reason to support them that much more.

    Spot on salty!!! The youth of today have no idea of the sacrifices made for them to have the basic civil rights they enjoy today. Also spot on about the unions. They provide a service that people are going to miss as their pay and benefits drop lower and lower. My only problem with the unions is I don't feel anyone should be forced to pay union dues. However if you don't pay the dues, you're on your own. Don't come looking to the union to help when you get bent over.

    August 6, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    t must be said

    rs
    This gentleman is a real-live American hero, and he still has to fight for equality- not only for all Americans, but even to be heard in Mr. Issa's witch hunt hearings.

    Cummings is the person you are thinking of, not Lewis. I know they all look the same to you. Oivay,,
    ========================================================
    Good grief. I guess having nothing to do with it explains why Johnson gave him a pen at the signing ceremony.
    ---------
    He's speaking about the Issa hearings, not the signing ceremony. Stay focused.

    August 6, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. it must be said

    Rudy NYC
    t must be said
    rs
    This gentleman is a real-live American hero, and he still has to fight for equality- not only for all Americans, but even to be heard in Mr. Issa's witch hunt hearings.

    Cummings is the person you are thinking of, not Lewis. I know they all look the same to you. Oivay,,
    ========================================================
    Good grief. I guess having nothing to do with it explains why Johnson gave him a pen at the signing ceremony.
    --–

    Usually I can decipher your blathering Rudy but you got me on this one.

    August 6, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. sonny chapman

    Just Asking-you know, or should know, that the 1965 Repubs, are not the same pedigree as the 2014 Version. All of the white Dems.who left for color reasons, went over to Your Party. As a white Southern Dem., I TY for taking them in.

    August 6, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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