(CNN) – Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat who was the youngest keynote speaker at the 1963 March on Washington, says on the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark event that the civil rights movement allowed young people’s lives to take on a purpose.
“During the height of the civil rights movement, we grew up, we had something to stand up for,” he told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on “State of the Union.”
“We had something to believe in. I grew up - I literally grew up on lunch counter stools or going on the Freedom Ride or participating in a march,” he continued. “You had a sense of purpose. You had goals: that we wanted to desegregate the lunch counters, the restaurants, to gain the right to vote.”
(CNN) - Longtime congressman and veteran civil rights icon John Lewis said the Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act dealt a major blow to minorities in the United States.
"It is awful, it's a sad day, I never thought that I would see the day when the U.S. Supreme Court would put a dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965," he said Tuesday on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.
(CNN) - Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, leveled an explosive charge in a fundraising email for a candidate seeking to oust a Republican congressman from Florida.
Lewis, wrote that there is a "deliberate and systematic effort on the part of Republican officials to prevent minorities, seniors, the young, and the poor from casting their ballots."
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Washington (CNN) – On the morning of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial dedication, a longtime Georgia congressman and the last surviving speaker from the March on Washington said King was not only a instrumental figure in American culture—but in him, as well.
“I saw segregation. I saw racial discrimination. I tasted the bitter fruits of racism,” Rep. John Lewis said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And he made me a different person. And today I can say I don't have any bitter feelings or have any anger or hatred (toward) human beings.”
Washington (CNN) - Politicians fought Sunday to cast the ongoing Wall Street protests in very different light, with two GOP presidential candidates calling them "class warfare" as two prominent Democrats expressed support for the protesters' message.
"They want to be heard," said Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia. "And at the same time they want to speak to America, speak to people in power, to officials of the American government but also to the business community, especially Wall Street, to corporate America, to bankers. They're saying, in effect, that we bailed out Wall Street and now it's time for Wall Street and corporate America to help bail out the American people.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia) came into the James S. Brady Briefing Room after receiving the nation’s top civilian honor today. Surrounded by reporters, the civil rights icon described the honor as “unreal.”
He recounted his efforts in the civil rights movement, the more than 40 arrests he endured, and the countless times he was left beaten, bloodied, and unconscious. “I didn’t give up, I didn’t give in, I kept the faith, I kept my eyes on the prize,” he said solemnly. “It’s worth every step, every sit-in, every beating, every arrest.”
Washington (CNN) - House Republican leaders criticized the use of slurs against Democratic congressmen by protesters on Capitol Hill Saturday, but they called them isolated incidents that shouldn't overshadow the debate over health care.
Three Democratic African-American lawmakers - including civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis of Georgia - said demonstrators against the health care bill yelled racist epithets at them as they walked past. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri said a protester spit at him. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, an openly gay Democrat, said protesters yelled anti-gay comments at him.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the incidents "reprehensible" but said on NBC's Meet the Press "let's not let a few isolated incidents get in the way of the fact that millions of Americans are scared to
death, and millions of Americans want no part of this growing size of government."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, appearing on NBC, said, "I think the tone of the this entire debate has been denigrated, has been brought down, frankly, by the rhetoric on government takeover, socialism, things that are not accurate."
"Nobody condones that at all," said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R- Virginia. on ABC's "This Week." "There were 30,000 people here in Washington yesterday. And, yes, there were some very awful things said."
Cantor appeared with House Democratic Caucus chairman John Larson, D-Connecticut, who said the incidents show "everybody ought to ratchet back just a little bit."
Asked about Larson's comment, Cantor said "you know what it is time for? It's time to listen to the American people, and that is the stunning thing about this."
On CNN's "State of the Union," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, called the slurs "contemptible," saying, "I denounce it in the strongest terms."
Washington (CNN) - Civil rights icon and veteran Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, said anti-health care bill protesters Saturday repeatedly yelled the "N" word at him as he left a heath care meeting and walked to the Capitol.
"I haven't seen heard anything like this in more than 40 years, maybe 45." Lewis said. "Since the march from Selma to Montgomery really."
"Yeah, but it's okay," Lewis added. "I've faced this before. So, it reminded me of the 60's. There's a lot of downright hate and anger and people are just being downright mean."
The incident was confirmed by Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indiana, who was walking with Lewis at the time. Protesters were yelling, "'kill the bill, kill the bill' and the 'N' word several times," Carson said.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, released a statement late Saturday saying he too was called the "N" word as he walked to the Capitol for a vote and that he was spat on by one protestor who was arrested by U.S. Capitol Police. Cleaver declined to press charges against the man, the statement said.
Protesters also hurled anti-gay comments at Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, who is openly gay, as he left the same health care meeting that Lewis attended in a House office building.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Members of the Congressional Black Caucus urged President Obama on Tuesday to act on the humanitarian crisis in Sudan, including pressuring China to intervene in the mass killing of civilians in the African nation.
"We have to act," said Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia. "If we fail to act, we fail to do something, history will not be kind to any of us. This is genocide."
The Darfur conflict started in February 2003 when black African rebel groups attacked government property, accusing the government of neglecting Darfur in favor of the Arab population in Sudan. Darfur is a region in Sudan.
Lewis, who is also a civil rights activist, was arrested during a protest last month outside the embassy of Sudan in Washington. He and others called for expressions of solidarity such as fasting, petition drives and meetings with top U.S. envoys.
Actress Mia Farrow was a keynote speaker at a news conference lawmakers held near the U.S. Capitol. The actress said Obama has yet to affirm his strong statements made as a senator against the situation in Sudan.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A spokesman for the IRS said Thursday that the agency "stands ready to take collection action if the need arises" to get back taxes from 13 still unnamed companies that received billions of dollars in federal bailout money.
"The IRS has every expectation that these amounts will be paid and is committed to collect every dollar of taxes that are owed," IRS spokesman Frank Keith said in a statement.
Georgia Rep. John Lewis, chairman of a House subcommittee overseeing the federal bailout, first revealed at a hearing on Thursday morning that 13 companies receiving stimulus money owed over $220 million in back taxes. Keith said the IRS will closely monitor the companies and take action to make them pay, if necessary.
"The IRS recognizes that those entities that receive taxpayer support have a special obligation to pay their taxes, and these taxpayer accounts will remain closely monitored by the IRS to ensure that the full amount of taxes due are paid," Keith said. "The IRS stands ready to take collection action if the need arises."
Keith said the IRS gave Lewis' committee tax information related to TARP recipients. He noted that there could be a number of reasons why the companies did not pay all of their taxes and that having an unpaid balance "does not signal any intent not to pay."