John Lewis played an important role in the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
The United States Postal Service is honoring the late civil rights icon and lawmaker John Lewis. They announced that he is among the seven new stamp subjects. According to PEOPLE, Lewis's stamp will be available in 2023. The picture that is being featured is clicked by Marco Grob on an assignment for the Time Magazine August 26, 2013 issue. The Postal Services said, "Devoted to equality and justice for all Americans, Lewis spent more than 30 years in Congress steadfastly defending and building on key civil rights gains that he had helped achieve in the 1960s. Even in the face of hatred and violence, as well as some 45 arrests, Lewis remained resolute in his commitment to what he liked to call 'good trouble,'" as reported by NBC News.
The selvage attached to the stamp has a picture of Lewis which was taken by Steve Schapiro in 1963 in a nonviolent protest outside a workshop in Clarksdale, MS. Lewis played an important role in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. He was the youngest of the "Big Six" Civil Rights leaders, which also had Martin Luther King Jr. They organized the historic 1963 March in Washington. Two years after that, he was also part of several marches from Selma to Montgomery across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. He also helped with organizing sit-ins at segregated lunch counters. Lewis was reportedly the original Freedom Riders who took buses from the North to the Deep South to protest segregation at interstate bus terminals.
In 1986, Lewis was elected to Congress for the first time. He went on to get re-elected 16 times and used his time to improve civil rights in the US. In 2011, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his civil service. Lewis died on July 17, 2020, when he was 80 after battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He has been honored in different ways since his death. In July 2021, a US Naval ship was christened in his name. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the official christening of the USNS John Lewis, said, "This ship will be a beacon to the world reminding all who see it of the persistence and courage of John Lewis." The officials also announced in 2021 that Lewis's memorial will be put up in the Atlanta area. It will be replacing a Confederate monument.
Lewis had written a final essay for New York Times and it was scheduled to be published on the day of his funeral on July 17. He wrote that he was "inspired" by the ongoing protests against racial discrimination and the murder of George Floyd on May 25. He wrote, "Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble."
He also said, "Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it." Lewis credited King and Rosa Parks for encouraging him to stand up against discrimination and inequality. He said in a speech in 2015, The action of Rosa Parks and the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. inspired me to find a way to get in the way, to get in trouble — good trouble, necessary trouble.”