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Memories of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.Salem-News.com
John Lewis reminds us this is a day to honor MLK's legacy and reflect on how far we've come.
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Over 40 years ago, I stood with Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on the steps of the U.S. Capitol during the March on Washington. Today our nation will commemorate his life and work.
Dr. King's words inspired me to join the civil rights movement and begin my own fight for a more just and equal nation.
This is a day to honor his legacy and reflect on how far we've come.
But it's also a day to rededicate ourselves to building an America where all are treated equally and every eligible American can cast a ballot and have it counted.
Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries, John Lewis has remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. 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.
While still a young man, John Lewis became a nationally recognized leader. By 1963, he was dubbed one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. (The others were Whitney Young, A. Phillip Randolph, Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer and Roy Wilkins). At the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963.
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