Congressman John Lewis Named Hero of History
Contact: Patricia Butts, 334-727-6390
Congressman John Lewis was named a "Hero of History" by National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, for his role as a catalyst in the American Civil Rights movement and as a leader of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights. A brief ceremony was held in Congressman Lewis' office in Washington D.C. on Thursday, March 21st, the 48th anniversary of the march. This occasion is amplified just days before Holy Week, a time that reinforces our understanding of personal sacrifice.
On March 7, 1965, known as "Bloody Sunday", armed officers attacked peaceful civil rights demonstrators attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The march and complimentary events brought the issues associated with voting rights to the forefront of the United States political agenda and raised the nation's consciousness about the struggle of African-Americans for equal rights, and forever changed the political life of the South and the United States as a whole. Historians view the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights march as one of the last great grassroots campaigns for human rights and the summit of the modern civil rights movement that originated in the 1950s.
Congressman Lewis was recognized for his lifetime advocacy and leadership of the American Civil Rights movement. The Selma to Montgomery march remains one of the most significant civil rights protests in American history. "Because of his commitment and iconic presence, Civil Rights and the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail will always remain relevant in our changing society," said Superintendent Sandra L. Taylor. "We thank Congressman Lewis for making history and making America a better place to live."
Jarvis and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the designation of the Edmund Pettus Bridge as a national historic landmark, earlier this month. The designation signifies the bridge as a nationally significant historic place and extends the legacy for Americans to reflect and pay respect to those who sacrificed for change.
For more information, about the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, visit www.nps.gov/semo.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
Did You Know?
On March 17, 1965, after five days of testimony, Judge Johnson granted an order authorizing the march from Selma to Montgomery. On March 21, Martin Luther King led a diverse group of 8,000 demonstrators out of Selma under the protection of 2,000 National Guard troops and federal marshals.