The Civil Rights Movement Through the Eyes of a U.S. Congressman
A personal tour of five Southern sites that defined the Civil Rights Movement— from a man who was there. | By U.S. Representative John Lewis
I have always loved history, and I have been fortunate and very blessed in my lifetime to participate in some of the human drama that became part of our nation's historical record. During my involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, I met remarkable men and women whose lives are inextricably tied to the historic sites of the Civil Rights Movement: people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Rosa Parks; Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth; Pete Seeger; Myles Horton; Septima Poinsette Clark; the Little Rock Nine; and many others. When I was first elected to Congress back in 1986, I was assigned to serve on the Committee on Public Works and Transportation. Among the bills that I sponsored while I was there was one that established the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, which designated U.S. 80, the route of the Selma-to-Montgomery March, a National Historic Trail. When people travel that highway, I want them to know what happened there just a few decades ago and how it happened. Then they may understand not just the steps we took but the distance we have come and the progress we have made as a people and as a nation. It will also help them comprehend the distance we still must travel to create a real "Beloved Community" in America—a nation and a world community finally at peace with itself.