I Interviewed John Lewis 45 Years Ago. His Commitment To Voting Rights Never Wavered.Breaking News
tags: African American history, civil rights movement, voting rights, John Lewis
As mourners honor the courage that earned Rep. John Lewis his reputation as the conscience of Congress, there is another characteristic that stands out for those who knew him from his days as a young civil rights activist.
Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, was among the most persistent and unwavering voices in the fight for African American voting rights.
“It’s still a source of pain that the Voting Rights Act has not been more actively enforced,” Lewis told me in 1975, 10 years after passage of the law.
Fifty-five years after passage, Lewis was still feeling that pain — during a period when President Trump castigates voting by mail and Republican officials use black voter suppression as an electoral tactic.
“It is heartbreaking to witness this [Justice] Department’s touting of minimal, sub-standard actions as it seemingly deserts its mission to uphold voting rights laws,” he complained in a letter to Attorney General William Barr, just three weeks before Lewis died on July 17, at age 80, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.