John Lewis

Civil rights leader, US Congressman
"The conscience of the US Congress," John Lewis dedicated his life to protecting human rights and securing civil liberties in the United States.

Why you should listen

John Lewis 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. From participating in the Freedom Rides through his work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to his decades in US Congress, he remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States.
Lewis was elected to Congress in November 1986 and served as US Representative of Georgia's Fifth Congressional District until his death in July 2020.

John Lewis’ TED talk

More news and ideas from John Lewis

Live from TED2020

Ways of seeing: Notes from Session 3 of TED2020

June 4, 2020

Session 3 of TED2020, hosted by TED’s head of curation Helen Walters and writer, activist and comedian Baratunde Thurston, was a night of something different — a night of camaraderie, cleverness and, as Baratunde put it, “a night of just some dope content.” Below, a recap of the night’s talks and performances. In a heartfelt […]

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