This week on Q&A our guest is Congressman John Lewis, Democrat from Georgia’s 5th congressional district and author of a newly released historical narrative titled, “Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change.” Lewis talks about his own early involvement in the non-violent protests of the civil rights movement. He recounts his experience in leading a group of students across the Edmond Pettus Bridge in Alabama when he was 25 years old. Rep. Lewis explains how he and other students were beaten and arrested by Alabama state troopers. He comments on many of the early participants in the civil rights movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Stokely Carmichael. He observes that Dr. King would not be very pleased to learn that his heirs charged money for using his likeness and speeches. Lewis was the chairman of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee and the youngest speaker at the “March on Washington” in 1963. He talks about meeting his wife at a dinner party in 1967, and recounts his early childhood interest in becoming a minister.
John Lewis was first elected to his 5th district seat in 1986. Before that, he served on the Atlanta city council. He was born in Troy, Alabama and attended the American Baptist Theological Seminary, and Fisk University where he majored in philosophy. He was the longest serving chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.