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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Congressman, former Freedom Rider, speaks to packed crowd

The UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity and Mosaic Templars Cultural Center hosted Congressman John Lewis, who spoke to a packed house on Sunday, April 27.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis signs copies of his book with co-writer Andrew Aydin

U.S. Rep. John Lewis signs copies of his book with               co-writer Andrew Aydin

Lewis, a featured author at this year’s Arkansas Literary Festival, was in Little Rock to promote his new graphic novel memoir, “March: Book One,” co-written by Andrew Aydin and drawn by North Little Rock native, Nate Powell.

Lewis quipped that he used to “preach to the chickens” on his father’s rural Alabama farm in the 1940s, saying that they seemed to listen better than his colleagues in Congress.

He serves as the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2011.

Lewis was arrested 24 times during nonviolent protests while leading and participating in sit-ins, demonstrations, and the 1965 Selma-Montgomery March.

He is also one of the 13 original Freedom Riders, civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into segregated areas of the South to test the 1960 U.S. Supreme Court decision ordering all interstate bus companies to integrate interstate transportation waiting rooms and restrooms.

His book is a number one New York Times bestseller and was named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. It is the first of a planned trilogy of graphic novels that aim to share Congressman Lewis’s “remarkable story with new generations.”

Audience members waited in line for up to an hour as Lewis signed copies of his book following the panel presentation.

To learn more about institute programs and events, go to Institute on Race and Ethnicity.

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