Blackity Black History Month: ATL Icon John Lewis

Blackity Black History Month: ATL Icon John Lewis

Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.”

— Rep. John Lewis on what he’s learned about movement work, from his 2017 memoir, “Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America”

John Lewis, in full John Robert Lewis, (born February 21, 1940, near Troy, Alabama — died July 17, 2020, Atlanta, Georgia), was a Black civil rights leader and politician best known for his chairmanship of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and for leading the march that was halted by police violence on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, a landmark event in the history of the civil rights movement that became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

He became an Atlanta icon as Congressman for Georgia's 5th Congressional District, and he spent his political life championing the rights of Black people and encouraging us to exercise our right to vote, as a means to change the world.


Each day this month, we'll be sharing wise words from Black Atlanta icons — some who are household names and some who you may not know. Atlanta history IS Black history, and this is our way of sharing it.