National Urban League Mourns the Passing of Civil Rights Icon John Lewis

Jul 20, 2020

 National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial issued the following statement in response to the passing of Congressman John Lewis:

“John Lewis is one of the great Americans of his generation. He walked side-by-side with civil rights legends, and stood toe-to-toe with presidents -  always serving as a moral compass pointing toward justice. At the age of 21 he chose to put himself in harm’s way as one of the original Freedom Riders, rolling into the angry and segregated South to shine a light on the injustice and brutality that wascommonplace. He was knocked unconscious at the Greyhound station in Montgomery; 40 years later he publicly forgave the former Klan supporter who led the attack. Alabama state troopers fractured his skull as he tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on Bloody Sunday.  The list of sacrifices and acts of heroism is endless. Always, he emerged steadfast, with his eyes, his heart and his moral certitude focused on creating a better America. We will miss his voice.

“John was also a personal hero, a friend and a mentor. In 2013, the National Urban League recognized him with our highest honor, the Civil Rights Champion Award. In his presence, I was reminded that I stand on the shoulders of history. That this icon reached back to pull the next generation of leaders like me to the front of the line was at once life-affirming and humbling.  He was always affable, always available, always fighting—until the very end.

“May he rest in power.”