Justice

Civil Rights Hero John Lewis' Response to the Confederate Flag is Incredible

July 10th 2015

By:
Sarah Gray

On Thursday, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) made an impassioned speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives about the Civil Rights movement and the need to take down the Confederate flag.

"We must go forward and create a community that recognizes all of us as human beings and as citizens," Rep. Lewis stated in a short but powerful speech.

He was one of many members of the Congressional Black Caucus to speak out against a final amendment added to the 2016 Interior-Environment spending bill. The amendment, which was pulled, was introduced by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), and would have allowed the Confederate flag (and Confederate flag-imagery) to remain displayed at federal cemeteries on Confederate memorial day celebrated in nine states. It also would have allowed the sale of Confederate flag-adorned souvenirs, according to the New York Times.

The amendment was being debated on the same day that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill requiring that the Confederate battle flag be taken down from the South Carolina capitol grounds.

"If a descendent of Jefferson Davis could admit the Confederate battle flag is a symbol of hate and division, why can't we do it here?" Lewis asked, referring to South Carolina State Rep. Jenny Horne whose impromptu speech during the debate of the Confederate flag helped shape the outcome of the vote to take it down.

Rep. Lewis is not only a long-serving congressman from Georgia, but also a Civil Rights hero, known for leading peaceful protestors during the historic march to Selma on March 7, 1965.

Earlier this week on July 7, Rep. Lewis shared his mug shot from 54 years prior, when he was arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for using "a so-called white restroom."

Fifty-four years ago today, I was released from Parchman Penitentiary after being arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for using a so-called white restroom. #goodtrouble

Posted by John Lewis on Tuesday, July 7, 2015