National Parks honor Lewis as a ‘Hero of History’Published 9:42pm Saturday, March 30, 2013
U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was named a “Hero of History” by National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, for his role as a catalyst in the American Civil Rights movement and as a leader of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights. A brief ceremony was held in Lewis’ D.C. office earlier this month.
On March 7, 1965, known as “Bloody Sunday,” armed officers attacked peaceful civil rights demonstrators attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
The march and complimentary events brought the issues associated with voting rights to the forefront of the United States political agenda and raised the nation’s consciousness about the struggle of African-Americans for equal rights, and forever changed the political life of the South and the United States as a whole. Historians view the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights march as one of the last great grassroots campaigns for human rights and the summit of the modern civil rights movement that originated in the 1950s.
Lewis was recognized for his lifetime advocacy and leadership of the American Civil Rights movement. The Selma to Montgomery march remains one of the most significant civil rights protests in American history.
“Because of his commitment and iconic presence, civil rights and the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail will always remain relevant in our changing society,” Superintendent Sandra L. Taylor said. “We thank Congressman Lewis for making history and making America a better place to live.”
Jarvis and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the designation of the Edmund Pettus Bridge as a national historic landmark. The designation signifies the bridge as a nationally significant historic place and extends the legacy for Americans to reflect and pay respect to those who sacrificed for change.