Pike County's John Lewis: National Civil Rights Icon
Courageous John Lewis: 'Conscience of Congress'
A bright youngster, Lewis was denied access to the public library in Troy. He attended segregated schools. He was inspired by the courageous examples of Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to oppose segregation. He participated in lunch counter sit-ins while attending college in Nashville. In 1961, racist whites brutally beat Lewis and other Freedom Riders during provocative demonstrations testing compliance of the 1960 Boynton v. Virginia court decision.
Lewis was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and served as president from 1963 to 1966. At age 23, he was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
He and fellow voting-rights activist Hosea Williams were among numerous marchers severely beaten and tear-gassed on
After settling in Atlanta, he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as associate director of the federal volunteer agency ACTION. He was serving on the Atlanta City Council when he was elected in 1986 to represent metro Atlanta in the United States House of Representatives, a position he held for more than three decades.
Lewis served in leadership roles on numerous major congressional committees. As a member of the Interior Committee, he was the chief sponsor of a 15-year effort to create the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Smithsonian-affiliated museum opened on the National Mall in 2016. During his congressional career, Lewis was widely regarded as “the conscience of the Congress.”
In 2011, President Barack Obama presented Lewis with the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. On the 50th anniversary of the Selma march in 2015, Lewis introduced the first African American president, who responded that it was “a great honor to be introduced by one of my
Lewis' biography Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, was published in 1998.
Presented February 2-3, 2018 during John Lewis Day in Pike County
Erected 2018 by Alabama Tourism Department.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Civil Rights. A significant historical date for this entry is February 21, 1940.
Location. 31° 48.535′ N, 85° 57.942′ W. Marker is in Troy, Alabama, in Pike County. Marker is on Walnut Street east of Harrison Street. Located next to the Troy Public Library. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 500 E Walnut St, Troy AL 36081, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Academy Street High School (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Historic Troy Post Office (approx. ¼ mile away); Pike County WWI Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); First United Methodist Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); Confederate Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Three Notch Road (approx. 0.4 miles away); Chancellor's Residence (approx. 0.6 miles away); Janice Hawkins Park (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Troy.
Also see . . . Wikipedia article on John Lewis. (Submitted on March 7, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 7, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 396 times since then and 206 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 7, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.