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John Lewis to Grads: "Get in the Way"

June 11, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

Rep. John R. Lewis challenged Queens College’s 2009 graduates to “find a way to get in the way.” The Democratic Congressman from Georgia said, “You must stand up for what is right, for what is just, for what is good, you must do it — it is your calling.” The civil rights pioneer recalled growing up in rural Alabama when blacks, including his parents, endured the injustices of segregation. “But one day, at age 15, I heard about Rosa Parks, I heard the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the radio and I was inspired to get in into trouble.” Lewis’s activism began as a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He later marched alongside King, and was the major organizer and keynoter of the March on Washington in August 1963, when King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
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