Civil rights icon and former U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who spent decades fighting for racial justice, will be honored with a postage stamp next year.
In its announcement on Tuesday, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) said the stamp “celebrates the life and legacy” of Lewis, who risked his life to protest segregation and other injustices in the violent Jim Crow South.
“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,” USPS said in a news release.
In March of 1965, Lewis, then-25-years-old led a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama along with other civil rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What was intended to be a peaceful demonstration calling for equal voting rights became known as “Bloody Sunday” after Alabama State Troopers brutally attacked the protestors, leaving Lewis with a cracked skull.
His career in public service spanned nearly 60 years. When he was a student, Lewis joined lunch counter protests; later, he became a Freedom Rider; and at 21, he became the youngest speaker at the March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom.
Lewis served on the Atlanta City Council before being elected to Congress, where he represented the Atlanta region for more than 30 years.
He died at age 80 in 2020 after suffering from advanced-stage pancreatic cancer.