Data News Weekly Staff Edited Report
Thousands marched across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama to commemorate Bloody Sunday when the Civil Rights Activists faced a brutal police force while marching for voting rights during the Civil Right Movement.
During this time a young John Lewis as a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) led the march in 1965, was beaten that day, and left with a fractured skull and a concussion.
Fifty-Five years later he is a long way from the young lion who marched along with thousands of courageous people on that day. Lewis is now a Congressman and been called the Conscious of the Congress, quite an honor for man who marched with Dr. King and so many other who sacrificed for justice, freedom and equality.
But today it is Lewis, who still is on the front lines encouraging and inspiring the next generation of Freedom Fighters.
Lewis, who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, was not expected to be at the event until an announcement from his office the morning of the final day of Jubilee, the annual events marking the voting rights protests in Selma.
His words were heartfelt and powerful as he told the crowd that included many in the civil rights community, several Democratic Presidential hopefuls and thousands of others that were on hand.
“I thought I was going to die on this bridge. But somehow and some way, God Almighty helped me here,” he said recounting his experience 55 years ago.
Lewis then encouraged the crowd to continue the fight for freedom and justice today.
“We must keep the faith, keep our eyes on the prize,” he said. “We must go out and vote like we never ever voted before. Some people gave more than a little blood. Some gave their very lives.”
Civil Rights Icon Congressman John Lewis made an appearance at the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama 55 years later after he led a march for Voting Rights. He encouraged the crowd to continue the fight for freedom and justice today.
Photograph: Joshua Lott/AFP via Getty Images