National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1955-1969: We demand liberty and justice for all

August 6, 1965
A hero of the civil rights movement takes his place in Congress

John Lewis

At the White House this morning, President Johnson honored 25-year-old activist John Lewis by giving him a pen used to sign the Voting Rights Act.

Born the son of sharecroppers, Lewis organized “freedom rides” and led voter registration drives in the South.

He helped lead the Selma-to-Montgomery march, during which protestors were brutally attacked by state troopers. Lewis was beaten, kicked, spat on and jailed on that “Bloody Sunday.”

The march—and attack—spurred this new law.

Saturday, January 7, 1987

Georgia’s voters just elected a new representative.

Activist John Lewis—who endured 40 arrests and countless beatings—is now Congressman John Lewis.

Read about it in the New York times

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