Congressman John Lewis To Speak As Morehouse Celebrates 87th Birthday Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Date Released: January 12, 2016

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Congressman John Lewis, one of the original “Big Six” leaders during the heyday of the civil rights movement, will talk about his experiences and today’s challenges at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21 at Morehouse College’s Ray Charles Performing Arts Center.

“An Evening With Rep. John Lewis” is one of several events the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection is leading in the annual commemoration of the life of King, a 1948 graduate and one of Lewis’ mentors.

“As one of our nation’s great champions of human rights, Congressman John Lewis has led by example,” said Vicki Crawford, director of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection. “His unwavering courage and dedicated leadership continue to inspire us all. We are delighted that Congressman Lewis will join us this year as we commemorate the 87th birthday of Dr. King.”

That commemoration includes events such as a Community-Wide Interfaith Harmony March and Rally at Morehouse’s iconic King Statue on Sunday, Jan. 17 while on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday on Monday, Jan. 18, Morehouse students will participate in service projects across Atlanta. (A full schedule can be found at

“The enduring message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is more relevant now than ever,” Crawford said. “At Morehouse College, King’s alma mater, we are proud to honor him on the occasion of the national holiday. Also, very importantly, we embrace King’s values and vision in academic and campus life throughout the year.”

The highlight of the activities will be Lewis’ conversation with David Wall Rice, chairman of the Morehouse Psychology Department.

An Alabama sharecropper’s son, Lewis grew up inspired to be part of the civil rights movement after hearing by radio King’s speeches and his work in the Montgomery bus boycott. Lewis led sit-in lunch counter demonstrations in Nashville, Tenn., as a student at Fisk University and participated in the Freedom Rides to challenge interstate bus segregation throughout the South.   He was beaten many times by angry mobs and arrested by police by standing up to the South’s Jim Crow segregation.

Named chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which he helped form, Lewis at age 23 was an organizer and a keynote speaker at the 1963 March on Washington.

His political career began in 1981 when he was elected to the Atlanta City Council. Five years later, he was elected to Congress where is now the Senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party leadership in the House.

Lewis has a slew of honors and awards, including the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented by President Barack Obama in 2010.

For more on David Wall Rice go to:


Morehouse College

Ranked number five as America’s most entrepreneurial college by Forbes Magazine in 2015, Morehouse College is the nation’s largest liberal arts college for men. Founded in 1867, the College enrolls approximately 2,100 students and historically has conferred more bachelor’s degrees on black men than any other institution in the world. Morehouse College has produced more Rhodes Scholars than any other HBCU. Prominent alumni include Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize laureate; Dr. David Satcher, a former U.S. Surgeon General; Sheldon “Spike” Lee, an American filmmaker; Maynard H. Jackson, the first African American mayor of Atlanta, Ga.; and Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Last Modified: November 16, 2016, 10:11 AM, by: Synera Shelton

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