“Forgotten Hollywood”- Freedom Rider…

Posted on July 17, 2020 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`John R. Lewis was a politician and civil rights leader. He was a United States Representative for Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District,  and in his seventeenth term in the House, having served since 1987, and was the dean of Georgia’s congressional delegation.  He was one of the Big Six who organized the 1963 March on Washington, and played several roles in the Civil Rights movement to end legalized racial segregation.

“`In 1955, Lewis initially heard Martin Luther King Jr. on the radio. When the Montgomery Bus Boycott (led by King) began later that year, he followed the news about it. He met Rosa Parks when he was seventeen, and was introduced to King for the first time the following year.

“`In 1961, Lewis became one of the thirteen original Freedom Riders. It initiated pressure on the  federal government in enforcing the Supreme Court decision in Boynton v. Virginia declaring segregated interstate bus travel to be unconstitutional.  Freedom Rides also exposed the passivity of the government regarding violence against citizens of the nation who were simply acting in accordance with the law.  In the South, Lewis and other nonviolent  Freedom Riders were beaten by angry mobs, arrested at times and taken to jail.

“`As part of the March on Washington in 1963, and as the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lewis addressed the same enormous crowd that heard Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech.

“` Lewis became nationally known during his prominent role in Selma to Montgomery marches when, on March 7, 1965 – which became known as Bloody Sunday –  Lewis and fellow activist Hosea Williams led six hundred marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. They were met by Alabama State Troopers who ordered them to disperse. When the marchers stopped to pray, the police discharged tear gas and mounted troopers charged the protesters, beating them with night sticks. His skull was fractured, but Lewis escaped across the bridge to Brown Chapel, the movement’s headquarter church in Selma.  Before taken to the hospital, he appeared before the television cameras calling on Lyndon Johnson to intervene in Alabama.

“`In February, 2009, almost fifty years after being bloodied in a Greyhound station during a Freedom Ride, Lewis received an apology on national television from former Klansman Elwin Wilson.  In 2011, Lewis was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. He often referred to the president’s election as a down payment to the message offered by King during his March on Washington speech. His own story was chronicled in the movie, Selma.

“`Lewis also worked for fifteen years to gain approval for Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. As he often surmised:  Who’d have thunk it? 

“`John R. Lewis (above) was eighty.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Friday, July 17th, 2020 at 9:51 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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