Academy of Achievement Logo
Achiever Gallery
  The Arts
   + [ Public Service ]
  Science & Exploration
  My Role Model
  Recommended Books
  Academy Careers
Keys to Success
Achievement Podcasts
About the Academy
For Teachers

Search the site

Academy Careers


If you like John Lewis's story, you might also like:
Willie Brown,
Ernest J. Gaines,
Daniel Inouye,
Frank M. Johnson,
James Earl Jones,
B.B. King,
Coretta Scott King,
Rosa Parks,
Shimon Peres,
Sidney Poitier,
Anthony Romero,
Bill Russell,
Albie Sachs,
Alan Simpson,
Desmond Tutu,
Antonio Villaraigosa,
Oprah Winfrey
and Andrew Young

John Lewis can also be seen and heard in our Podcast Center

Teachers can find prepared lesson plans featuring John Lewis in the Achievement Curriculum area:
The Road to Civil Rights
Social Advocacy

Related Links:
Project Vote Smart

Share This Page
  (Maximum 150 characters, 150 left)

John Lewis
John Lewis
Profile of John Lewis Biography of John Lewis Interview with John Lewis John Lewis Photo Gallery

John Lewis Profile

Champion of Civil Rights

Print John Lewis Profile Print Profile

  John Lewis

"I thought I was going to die a few times. On the Freedom Rides in the year 1961, when I was beaten at the Greyhound bus station in Montgomery, I thought I was going to die. On March 7th, 1965, when I was hit in the head with a night stick by a State Trooper at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, I thought I was going to die. I thought I saw death, but nothing can make me question the philosophy of nonviolence."

By age 23, John Lewis was already recognized as one of the principal leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement, along with Martin Luther King, Jr. The son of sharecroppers in rural Alabama, he led his first demonstrations while studying theology in Nashville, Tennessee.

As Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he was a leader in many of the most dramatic campaigns of the movement: the lunch counter sit-ins, the Freedom Rides and the March on Washington. He suffered serious injuries from mob violence and personal physical attacks, and would be arrested more than 40 times, but John Lewis would not be dissuaded from the pursuit of justice. In 1965 he led the historic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The marchers were attacked by Alabama State Troopers, and John Lewis had his skull fractured, but the subsequent march from Selma to Montgomery led directly to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, finally committing the federal government to the enforcement of voting rights for all Americans.

Over the following decades, John Lewis led an explosion of minority voter registration that has transformed American politics. In 1986, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. For more than 20 years, he has represented the city of Atlanta, Georgia and surrounding counties in Congress, where he remains one of America's most courageous champions of human rights.

This page last revised on Aug 10, 2010 16:40 EDT
How To Cite This Page