Legendary civil rights activist and congressional representative John Lewis has something to say about the upcoming midterm elections—and he says the hell out of it on Twitter. His tweet also reminds us of the terrorism we are seeing in this country right now, after Lewis and others faced it in the 1960s, while fighting for civil rights for African-Americans.
Here is his stunning tweet.
I have been beaten, my skull fractured, and arrested more than forty times so that each and every person has the right to register and vote. Friends of my gave their lives. Do your part. Get out there and vote like you’ve never voted before. #vote #goodtrouble
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) October 22, 2018
Often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America. His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress.
He was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama. He grew up on his family’s farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama. As a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts. In those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement. Ever since then, he has remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States.
John Lewis’ historical fight for civil rights, voting rights and human rights began while he was still in college, as part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
As a student at Fisk University, John Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. Lewis risked his life on those Rides many times by simply sitting in seats reserved for white patrons. He was also beaten severely by angry mobs and arrested by police for challenging the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the South.
At just 23 years old, Lewis was already known as one of the “Big Six” leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1963, he helped lead and spoke at the historic March on Washington.
Two years later, on March 7, 1965, Lewis and other civil rights leaders started out in Selma, heading for Montgomery to peacefully protest the need for voting rights in Alabama. While crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, 600 marchers were met by a group of state troopers who brutally attacked and beat them. When the media caught wind of the attack and exposed the horrendous cruelty, the horrific incident, now known as “Bloody Sunday, “ helped pave the way to the passing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. After leaving SNCC in 1966, he continued his commitment to the Civil Rights Movement as Associate Director of the Field Foundation and his participation in the Southern Regional Council’s voter registration programs. Lewis went on to become the Director of the Voter Education Project (VEP). Under his leadership, the VEP transformed the nation’s political climate by adding nearly four million minorities to the voter rolls.
In addition to earning a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy from Fisk University, John Lewis has been showered with numerous national awards; he has also received at least 50 honorary degrees, from the likes of Harvard, Brown, Duke, Princeton, Howard, Fisk and Columbia.
Lewis also co-wrote the #1 New York Times “graphic novel memoir trilogy” March, and won numerous awards for it as well, along with accolades by media groups like Boston Globe, Washington Post, USA Today, Library Journal and School’s booklist. Some colleges now use Lewis’ March as first-year reading.
After entering into politics in 1987, Lewis won the seat in the House of Representatives that he still holds today. There, he not only inspires fellow members of Congress from both parties, but also continues to peacefully fight for all American people, with a focus on the rights of the disenfranchised.
At 78 years old, John Lewis’ list of accomplishments is more than extensive. He is known by the masses as a heroic man—a strong, relentless, and greatly admired man of peace, who continues to fight for all.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.