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John Lewis (1940-)

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John Lewis, July 1965.

As a young seminarian in Nashville, John Lewis attended a workshop on nonviolence and soon joined other students in conducting sit-ins. One of the original Freedom Riders in 1961, he helped create the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and spoke as its representative at the March on Washington. Lewis also was a key organizer of 1964's Freedom Summer in Mississippi. Lewis was beaten by police during the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" march in Selma. He left SNCC the following year because of what he saw as its increasing militancy. He was elected to Congress in 1986, defeating fellow activist Julian Bond in the Democratic primary, and continues to serve as a representative from Georgia.

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