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Lewis, John

b. 1940

John Lewis, a son of Alabama sharecroppers, organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters as a student at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1961, he participated in Freedom Rides with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). When he was elected SNCC chairman in 1963, he had been arrested 24 times for his activism. Highly regarded in the Civil Rights Movement, he was a leader upon whom Dr. King relied. Lewis joined King as a keynote speaker during the March on Washington in 1963. He helped coordinate Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964 and lead the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. In 1986, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where his moral leadership and commitment to King’s vision are widely respected. In 2011, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Associated Archive Content : 34 results

1965 Annual Board Meeting for SCLC

This document details the agenda at the Annual Board Meeting for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Civil Rights Symposium Program

This document is a program from a symposium workshop on national and local civil rights challenges.

Event Program for Chester Robinson Tribute

Speaking invitation to Dr. King for a tribute to Chester Robinson and the West Side Organization at the First Congregational Church in Chicago.

Final Plans for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

This final organizing manual for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom details all logistics of the march, including the purpose of the march and accommodations for arriving in Washington, D.C.

Helping Across the South

Operation Freedom is an organization that originally began in west Tennessee to aid African Americans that were wrongly evicted from their homes due to the white power structure. The committees of Operation Freedom have expanded to other southern states where their help is needed.

Joint Statement of MLK and SCLC

Dr. King and John Lewis deliver a statement concerning a meeting presided over by Harry Belafonte. The meeting was intended to discover ways that the SCLC and SNCC could cooperate and concluded with an agreement for both organizations to work together but separately towards a voting bill and other goals.

Letter from A. Phillip Randolph to MLK

Mr. Randolph addresses his concerns with current events that could potentially harm the Civil Rights Movement. His list of developments includes Malcolm X's promotion of rifle clubs, the use of propaganda tactics to separate white people from the Civil Rights Movement, the increasing totalitarian influence on protest groups in northern cities and demagogic leadership that creates confusion and frustration. Mr. Randolph requests a meeting to discuss how to address these issues.

Letter from Abby Seldes to MLK

Young Abby Seldes writes Dr. King to inform him of how inspirational his words are. Seldes mentions that she is a 12-years-old from Pennsylvania and an avid supporter of Dr. King's leadership. She also discusses her parents' participation in the March on Washington.

Letter from Courtland Cox to MLK

Courtland Cox of SNCC writes Dr. King reminding him that several of their members are away in Africa and informs him that Mr. Lewis will not be able to attend his convention.

Letter from John Lewis to MLK

John Lewis, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and future Congressmen, writes to Dr. King to share his concerns regarding the need for an improved relationship between SNCC and SCLC.

Letter from John Lewis to MLK

John Lewis relays his appreciation for the advanced copy of Dr. King's book "Why We Can't Wait."

Letter from John Lewis to MLK

While in Ghana, Mr. John Lewis congratulates Dr. King for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Lewis states, "the Nobel Peace Prize Committee had no choice but to select you for such an honor."

Letter from John Lewis to MLK

In this letter, John Lewis requests a loan for the amount of $10,000 from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference so that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee can meet their payroll and cover pressing bills. He then speaks on the importance of continuous dialogue between the SCLC and SNCC.

Letter from John Lewis to MLK Regarding the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

In this letter, John Lewis encourages Dr. King to start a letter writing campaign to prevent the illegal election of Representatives from Mississippi. Lewis offers Dr. King assistance from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Letter from John Lewis to Rev. Ralph Abernathy

John Lewis thanks the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Board of Directors for their five thousand dollar contribution to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Letter from MLK to a Young John Lewis

Dr. King writes John Lewis, the future activist and U.S. Congressman, to thank him for a previous letter and to offer financial assistance. He discusses the possibility of Mr. Lewis joining his staff in Alabama.

Letter from MLK to SNCC's John Lewis Regarding the Nobel Peace Prize

Dr. King extends gratitude to John Lewis, Chairman of SNCC, for his encouraging letter upon the announcement of Dr. King being chosen to receive the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. King states he does not accept this award as a tribute to himself, but as a tribute to the entire Civil Rights Movement. Lewis was regarded as a key SNCC leader and became the US Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district in 1987.

Letter from Ralph D. Abernathy to John Lewis of SNCC

Ralph D. Abernathy, Vice President and Financial Secretary-Treasurer of the SCLC, sends a check as a gift to John Lewis, Chairman of SNCC. Abernathy also informs Lewis of the SCLC's financial situation, which prevents the organization from making a loan to SNCC.

Letter from SNCC Chairman John Lewis to William Shawn

John Lewis, Chairman of SNCC, responds to a recent article in "The New Yorker." He provides a number of corrections to the article and also explains who should be considered official spokespersons for SNCC.

Letter from SNCC Executive Committee to MLK

John Lewis and Silas Norman of SNCC write Dr. King to address their organization's grievances with the SCLC, specifically the SCLC's lack of cooperation in the Selma Voting Rights campaign. Members of SNCC state their disagreement with the march planned for March 7, 1965 because "the objectives of the march do not justify the danger and the resources involved." Lewis and Norman request a meeting with Dr. King to discuss reconciliation between SNCC and the SCLC.

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom Pamphlet

This pamphlet promotes the historic March on Washington of August 28, 1963. The pamphlet calls upon Congress to pass civil rights legislation and end the "twin evils of discrimination and economic deprivation" that plague the nation.

March on Washington Record

Entitled "We Shall Overcome!" this document advertises the selling of the "authorized record" of the 1963 March on Washington. The record includes "inspiring songs of freedom" and speeches from the historical march.

March to Washington Strategic Planning

This document outlines key strategies concerning the upcoming March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. The one-day civil rights demonstration intends to bring national attention to the social and economic injustices afflicting millions of American citizens.

Memorandum from Dr. King

Dr. King addresses this memorandum to the organizers of a "Stall In" at the World's Fair. He advises against the demonstration and only advises it when "persistent attempts at good faith negotiations have completely failed."

Memorandum from MLK and the World's Fair

This is a draft for Dr. King's correspondence regarding the endorsement of the "Stall In" at The World's Fair. The mass demonstration is lead by the Unity Council, of which Dr. King is associated with. Though he does not agree with the demonstration, he assures that his solidarity with the Council members remains.

Memorandum Regarding The March On Washington For Jobs and Freedom

In this memorandum, Bayard Rustin provides various civil rights leaders with the agenda for their upcoming leadership meeting regarding the 1963 March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom.

MLK Memorandum: Plans for Selma, Alabama

Dr. King outlines his plan for civil rights goals in Selma, Alabama.

News/Letter: Atlanta Workshop in Nonviolence

Here is a 1967 newsletter from the Atlanta Workshop in Nonviolence, covering a number of topics including the Vietnam War, the March on Washington, fascism, and non-violent tactical plans.

SNCC Newsletter - The Student Voice

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) began publishing "The Student Voice" in June 1960. The news magazine contained reports on SNCC activities, marches, sit-ins and other events related to the civil rights movement. The copy shown here is addressed to Andy Young.

Speeches by the Leaders

In this booklet, the NAACP compiled famous speeches from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Included are speeches from A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, Rev. Eugene Carson Blake, Rabbi Joachim Prinz, Whitney M. Young, Matthew Ahmann, John Lewis, Walter Reuther, and Dr. King. The booklet concludes with a pledge and a picture of the throng of supporters that attended the event. test

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