Teaching Students About The Biography of John Lewis
John Lewis was an American statesman and civil rights leader who died on July 17, 2020, at the age of 80. He was known for his exceptional leadership during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. He was one of the “Big Six” leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and served as a member of the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death in 2020.
Teaching students about the biography of John Lewis can help them understand the importance of civil rights and the role of leadership in achieving social change. John Lewis was born in 1940, in Troy, Alabama, and grew up on a farm in rural Pike County. He was the third of ten siblings, and his parents were sharecroppers.
From an early age, John Lewis was interested in social justice and wanted to fight for change. He was inspired by the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the prominent civil rights leaders of the time, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. In 1957, John Lewis joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and became a leading organizer of the Civil Rights Movement.
One of the most notable events in John Lewis’ life was the march on Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965. The march was organized to protest the violent actions of local authorities against peaceful demonstrators and to demand the right to vote for African Americans. The marchers were met with brutal police violence, and Lewis suffered a fractured skull. The event became known as “Bloody Sunday” and prompted President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited discriminatory practices in voting.
After leaving SNCC, John Lewis became the director of the Voter Education Project, where he worked to register millions of African Americans to vote. In 1986, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and fought for civil rights and social justice.
Teaching students about the biography of John Lewis can help them understand that social change is possible and that leadership is critical in achieving it. John Lewis was a visionary leader who worked tirelessly for civil rights and social justice, and his legacy continues to inspire future generations to work for change. His autobiographical graphic novel trilogy “March,” co-written by Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, could be a great resource for teaching students about his life and work.
In conclusion, John Lewis was an icon of the Civil Rights Movement and an inspiration to millions of people around the world. Teaching students about his life and work can help them understand the importance of civil rights and social justice and inspire them to become leaders for change in their communities.