In celebration of Black History Month, Netflix has shared a clip of Congressman John Lewis, former President Barack Obama and host David Letterman reflecting on the legacy of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Lewis, who was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee from 1963 to 1966, helped organize the 1965 Selma voting rights campaign. He and fellow activist Hosea Williams led 60 marchers across the bridge where they were met by Alabama State Troopers, who tear-gassed and brutally assaulted marchers as they stopped to pray.
Reflecting on the legacy of the march, Lewis told Letterman that symbolically the march represented “a vote” and Barack Obama.
“If it hadn’t been for the march from Selma to Montgomery there probably is no Barack Obama as President of the United States,” Lewis says in the clip.
Obama is also shown joining the conversation, telling Letterman, “John Lewis is absolutely right, that he and all those other folks that marched, carried me across that bridge. Well, they carried America across that bridge.”
“The interesting thing about John, for me, was that he was really the inspiration for me to take the path that I took,” Obama added. “In fact, where we are at City Colleges of New York, here in the Amsterdam campus, is where I got my first organizing job.”
The conversation is featured on the streaming service’s new special My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, which you can watch now.