Congressman John Robert Lewis was born in Troy, Alabama in 1940 and grew up in an era of racial segregation. Elected to Congress in 1986 representing Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, Congressman Lewis is one of the most respected and senior members of the House of Representatives today serving as the Chair of the United States House Ways and Means Committee on Oversight.
Congressman Lewis became actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement early on in life. Inspired by hearing Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on the radio at home, He attended the American Baptist Theological Seminary (ABT) in Nashville, Tennessee and became more active in the Civil Rights Movement while there, participating in the nonviolent sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Nashville and helping to establish the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). After graduation, Congressman Lewis participated in the Freedom Ride of 1961.
In 1963, he was elected as chairman of SNCC and, at the age of 23, was the youngest leader to have spoken at the March on Washington. One year later he was one of the architects of Freedom Summer including leading the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, on March 7, 1965. He left his position in SNCC in 1966 and worked for the Voter Education Project until running for Atlanta City Council in 1981 and in 1986 was elected to the House of Representatives. Congressman John Lewis has been awarded fourteen honorary degrees, numerous honors for his leadership and courage, authored a three-part graphic novel titled March that was awarded the National Book Award, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 from President Barack Obama.