Civil Rights Champion Delivers Address at Fall 2013 Commencement
Civil rights champion John Lewis received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Cleveland State University at Fall 2013 Commencement. The distinguished congressman from Georgia also delivered the commencement address at the ceremony, held Sunday, December 15, at the Wolstein Center.
At the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Mr. Lewis was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee. He is the only surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Mr. Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee, participated in the Freedom Rides to challenge segregation at bus terminals in the South and led more than 600 protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in a historic march for voting rights.
His experiences at the forefront of the civil rights movement are vividly revisited in March: Book One, a best-selling graphic novel published in August. Mr. Lewis is the author of two other books: Across that Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change and Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement.
Mr. Lewis has represented Georgia’s Fifth District in Congress since 1987. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2011.
At CSU, Mr. Lewis also participated in a Presidential Dialogue with CSU President Ronald Berkman on Saturday, December 14, in the Student Center.
Before Mr. Lewis came to Cleveland, he was part of the U.S. delegation that attended the memorial service last week for Nelson Mandela in South Africa.