A conversation with Congressman John Lewis - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Beaten but not broken: A conversation with Congressman John Lewis

Beaten but not broken: A conversation with Congressman John Lewis

Posted: Updated:
CHARLESTON, SC -

US Congressman John Lewis said he wanted to be a preacher when he was a child. But his early years in Alabama were spent preaching only to chickens in a chicken coop. Decades later though, he would deliver a strong message of civil disobedience to thousands during the March on Washington.

Congressman Lewis remembered the Jim Crow rules of the south in the 1950s, while visiting Morris Street Baptist church. He recalled the signs and messages of his childhood. They told him where he could drink water, go to school, or even eat a meal. The discrimination fueled him to do something. He helped organize the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

"We started sitting in...we would sit on lunch counter stools and someone would come up and spit on you or put a lighted cigarette out in your hair or pull you off the stool or beat you."

Lewis says he realized that he was part of something bigger than himself. He and other members of SNCC were beaten by police in 1965 during a march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. That day became known as Bloody Sunday, and Lewis, his skull fractured in the scuffle with Alabama state troopers, appeared on TV to make an appeal to President Lyndon Johnson before going to the hospital to get his wounds treated.

"I was hit in the head with a nightstick by a state trooper...I thought I was going to die. I thought I saw death."

Lewis says because he has risked his life for human rights of all people, he is saddened at how many minority males kill each other senselessly.

"I think Dr. King would be very distressed to see what is happening to so many of our young people . We've got to come to that point where young people-- all young people, black or white or Latino or Asian American come to value life."

Lewis who represents Georgia's 5th Congressional district has received dozens and awards and thousands of accolades for his work in civil rights, but his greatest accomplishment is in helping others reach their potential and seeing the positive growth in a nation he loves.

"The only way to make a difference is to get involved and stay engaged, through the highs and lows, the easy times and the difficult struggles. We have to keep on pushing and pulling knowing without a doubt that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it always bends toward justice."

  • 10-year-old rides bike 213 miles to raise money

    10-year-old rides bike 213 miles to raise money

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:33 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:33:01 GMT
    Scotty raised $62,951 that he gave to Water Missions International.Scotty raised $62,951 that he gave to Water Missions International.
    On April 13, 2014, Scotty Parker, a 10-year-old from Hanahan, S.C. began riding his bike from the Upstate to Charleston, a distance of 213 miles, to raise money for safe water provided through local non-profit, Water Missions International. 
    On April 13, 2014, Scotty Parker, a 10-year-old from Hanahan, S.C. began riding his bike from the Upstate to Charleston, a distance of 213 miles, to raise money for safe water provided through local non-profit, Water Missions International. 
  • Correctional officer back to work after being punched by inmate

    Correctional officer back to work after being punched by inmate

    Thursday, April 17 2014 4:43 PM EDT2014-04-17 20:43:58 GMT
    Right before incident involving inmate and officerRight before incident involving inmate and officer
    A Berkeley County corrections officer is back to work after being punched in the face by an inmate. The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office says this incident happened on March 28th. Another corrections officer was injured in the incident, involving inmate Benjamin Dubois. According to the police report, the detention officer was moving Dubois to another cell, because they say he kept covering the camera in his cell as well as kicking the door According to the police report,Dubois had a medic...
    A Berkeley County corrections officer is back to work after being punched in the face by an inmate. The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office says this incident happened on March 28th. Another corrections officer was injured in the incident, involving inmate Benjamin Dubois. According to the police report, the detention officer was moving Dubois to another cell, because they say he kept covering the camera in his cell as well as kicking the door According to the police report,Dubois had a medic...
  • Surveillance images released in Summerville bank robbery

    Surveillance images released in Summerville bank robbery

    Thursday, April 17 2014 3:03 PM EDT2014-04-17 19:03:33 GMT
    Police are asking for the public's assistance in identifying the suspectPolice are asking for the public's assistance in identifying the suspect
    Thursday afternoon at approximately 12:20 p.m. a white male robbed the BBT bank at 10105 Dorchester Road in Summerville.
    Thursday afternoon at approximately 12:20 p.m. a white male robbed the BBT bank at 10105 Dorchester Road in Summerville.
Powered by WorldNow

210 W. Coleman Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Telephone: 843.216.4875
Fax: 843.881.3410
Email: news@wcbd.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.