As a boy, Lewis aspired to be a preacher, and at age five, he preached to his family's chickens on the farm. As a young child, Lewis had little interaction with white people, as his county was majority black by a large percentage and his family worked as farmers. By the time he was six, Lewis had seen only two white people in his life. Lewis recalls "I grew up in rural Alabama, very poor, very few books in our home." He describes his early education at a little school, walking distance from his home. "A beautiful little building, it was a Rosenwald School. It was supported by the community, it was the only school we had." "I had a wonderful teacher in elementary school, and she told me 'read my child, read!' And I tried to read everything. I loved books. I remember in 1956, when I was 16 years old, with some of my brothers and sisters and cousins, going down to the public library, trying to get a library card, and we were told the library was for whites only and not for coloureds." As he grew older, he began taking trips into Troy with his family, where he continued to have experiences of racism and segregation. Lewis had relatives who lived in northern cities, and he learned from them that in the North schools, buses, and businesses were integrated. When Lewis was 11, an uncle took him to Buffalo, New York, where he became acutely aware of the contrast with Troy's segregation.
In 1955, Lewis first heard Martin Luther King Jr. on the radio, and he closely followed King's Montgomery bus boycott later that year. At age 15, Lewis preached his first public sermon. At 17, Lewis met Rosa Parks, notable for her role in the bus boycott, and met King for the first time at the age of 18. In later years, Lewis also credited evangelist Billy Graham, a friend of King's, as someone who "helped change me". Lewis also stated that Graham inspired him "to a significant degree" to fulfill his aspirations of becoming a minister.
After writing to King about being denied admission to Troy University in Alabama, Lewis was invited to meet with him. King, who referred to Lewis as "the boy from Troy", discussed suing the university for discrimination, but he warned Lewis that doing so could endanger his family in Troy. After discussing it with his parents, Lewis decided instead to proceed with his education at a small, historically black college in Tennessee.
As a student, Lewis became an activist in the civil rights movement. He organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Nashville and took part in many other civil rights activities as part of the Nashville Student Movement. The Nashville sit-in movement was responsible for the desegregation of lunch counters in the city's downtown. Lewis was arrested and jailed many times during the nonviolent activities to desegregate the city's downtown businesses. He was also instrumental in organizing bus boycotts and other nonviolent protests to support voting rights and racial equality.
During this time, Lewis said it was important to engage in "good trouble, necessary trouble" in order to achieve change, and he held to this credo throughout his life.
While a student, Lewis was invited to attend nonviolence workshops held at Clark Memorial United Methodist Church by the Rev. James Lawson and Rev. Kelly Miller Smith. Lewis and other students became dedicated to the discipline and philosophy of nonviolence, which he practiced for the rest of his life.
Video of President Clinton delivering remarks at a dinner honoring Representative John Lewis
In 1961, Lewis became one of the 13 original Freedom Riders. The group of seven blacks and six whites planned to ride on interstate buses from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans to challenge the policies of Southern states along the route that had imposed segregated seating on the buses, violating federal policy for interstate transportation. The Freedom Ride, originated by the Fellowship of Reconciliation and revived by James Farmer and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), was initiated to pressure the federal government to enforce the Supreme Court decision in Boynton v. Virginia (1960) that declared segregated interstate bus travel to be unconstitutional. The Freedom Rides revealed the passivity of local, state and federal governments in the face of violence against law-abiding citizens. The project was publicized; and organizers had notified the Department of Justice about it. It depended on the Alabama police to protect the riders, although the state was known for notorious racism. It did not undertake actions except assigning FBI agents to record incidents. After extreme violence broke out in South Carolina and Alabama, the Kennedy Administration called for a cooling-off period, with a moratorium on Freedom Rides.
In the South, Lewis and other nonviolent Freedom Riders were beaten by angry mobs and arrested. At age 21, Lewis was the first of the Freedom Riders to be assaulted while in Rock Hill, South Carolina. When he tried to enter a whites-only waiting room, two white men attacked him, injuring his face and kicking him in the ribs. Two weeks later Lewis joined a "Freedom Ride" bound for Jackson, Mississippi. Near the end of his life, Lewis said of this time, "We were determined not to let any act of violence keep us from our goal. We knew our lives could be threatened, but we had made up our minds not to turn back." As a result of his Freedom Rider activities, Lewis was imprisoned for 40 days in the notorious Mississippi State Penitentiary in Sunflower County.
In an interview with CNN during the 40th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, Lewis recounted the violence he and the 12 other original Freedom Riders endured. In Birmingham, the Riders were beaten by an unrestrained mob including KKK members (notified of their arrival by police) with baseball bats, chains, lead pipes, and stones. The police arrested them, and led them across the border into Tennessee before letting them go. The Riders reorganized and rode to Montgomery, where they were met with more violence. There Lewis was hit in the head with a wooden crate. "It was very violent. I thought I was going to die. I was left lying at the Greyhound bus station in Montgomery unconscious", said Lewis, remembering the incident.
When CORE gave up on the Freedom Ride because of the violence, Lewis and fellow activist Diane Nash arranged for Nashville students from Fisk and other colleges to take it over and bring it to a successful conclusion.
In February 2009, 48 years after the Montgomery attack, Lewis received a nationally televised apology from Elwin Wilson, a white southerner and former Klansman.
“Interview with John Lewis” pt.1 conducted in 1979 for America, They Loved You Madly, a precursor to Eyes on the Prize in which he discusses the sit-ins in Nashville, the philosophy of non-violence, the Freedom Rides, his role in SNCC, and the March on Washington.
Leaders of the March on Washington, 1963. Lewis is second from right.
In 1963, when Charles McDew stepped down as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Lewis, a founding member, was elected to take over. Lewis's experience was already widely respected. His courage and tenacious adherence to the philosophy of reconciliation and nonviolence had enabled him to emerge as a leader. He had already been arrested 24 times in the nonviolent movement for equal justice. As chairman of SNCC, Lewis was one of the "Big Six" leaders who were organizing the March on Washington that summer. The youngest, he was scheduled as the fourth to speak, ahead of the final speaker, Dr. Martin Luther King. Other leaders were Whitney Young, A. Philip Randolph, James Farmer, and Roy Wilkins.
Lewis had written a response to Kennedy's 1963 Civil Rights Bill. Lewis and his fellow SNCC workers had suffered from the federal government's passivity in the face of Southern violence. He planned to denounce Kennedy's bill for failing to provide protection for African Americans against police brutality, or to provide African Americans with the means to vote; he described the bill as "too little and too late". But when copies of the speech were distributed on August 27, the other chairs of the march insisted that it be revised. James Forman re-wrote Lewis's speech on a portable typewriter in a small anteroom behind Lincoln's statue during the program. He replaced Lewis's initial assertion "we cannot support, wholeheartedly the [Kennedy] civil rights bill” with “We support it with great reservations."
After Lewis, Dr. King gave his now celebrated "I Have a Dream" speech. Historian Howard Zinn later wrote of this occasion:
At the great Washington March of 1963, the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), John Lewis, speaking to the same enormous crowd that [next] heard King's "I Have a Dream" speech, was prepared to ask the right question: 'Which side is the federal government on?' That sentence was eliminated from his speech by the other organizers of the March to avoid offending the Kennedy Administration.
Lewis in 1964
In 1964, SNCC opened Freedom Schools, launched the Mississippi Freedom Summer for voter education and registration. Lewis coordinated SNCC's efforts for Freedom Summer, a campaign to register black voters in Mississippi and to engage college student activists in aiding the campaign. Lewis traveled the country, encouraging students to spend their summer break trying to help people vote in Mississippi, which had the lowest number of black voters and strong resistance to the movement.
In 1965 Lewis organized some of the voter registration efforts during the 1965 Selma voting rights campaign, and became nationally known during his prominent role in the Selma to Montgomery marches. On March 7, 1965 – a day that would become known as "Bloody Sunday" – Lewis and fellow activist Hosea Williams led over 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. At the end of the bridge and the city-county boundary, they were met by Alabama State Troopers who ordered them to disperse. When the marchers stopped to pray, the police discharged tear gas and mounted troopers charged the demonstrators, beating them with nightsticks. Lewis's skull was fractured, but he was aided in escaping across the bridge to Brown Chapel, a church in Selma that served as the movement's headquarters. Lewis bore scars on his head from this incident for the rest of his life.
In 1966, Lewis moved to New York City to take a job as the associate director of the Field Foundation. He was there a little over a year before moving back to Atlanta to direct the Southern Regional Council's Community Organization Project. During his time with the SRC, he completed his degree from Fisk University.
In 1970, Lewis became the director of the Voter Education Project (VEP), a position he held until 1977. Though initially a project of the Southern Regional Council, the VEP became an independent organization in 1971. Despite difficulties caused by the 1973–1975 recession, the VEP added nearly four million minority voters to the rolls under Lewis's leadership. During his tenure, the VEP expanded its mission, including running Voter Mobilization Tours.
After his unsuccessful bid, Lewis accepted a position with the Carter administration as associate director of ACTION, responsible for running the VISTA program, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, and the Foster Grandparent Program. He held that job for two and a half years, resigning as the 1980 election approached.
In 1981, Lewis ran for an at-large seat on the Atlanta City Council. He won with 69% of the vote, and served on the council until 1986.
After nine years as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Fowler gave up the seat to make a successful run for the U.S. Senate. Lewis decided to run for the 5th district again. In the August Democratic primary, where a victory was considered tantamount to election, State Representative Julian Bond ranked first with 47%, just three points shy of winning outright. Lewis finished in second place with 35%. In the run-off, Lewis pulled an upset against Bond, defeating him 52% to 48%. The race was said to have "badly strained relations in Atlanta's black community" as many Black leaders had supported Bond over Lewis. Lewis was "endorsed by the Atlanta newspapers and a favorite of the white liberal establishment". His victory was due to strong results among white voters (a minority in the district). During the campaign, he ran advertisements accusing Bond of corruption, implying that Bond used cocaine, and suggesting that Bond had lied about his civil rights activism.
In the November general election, Lewis defeated Republican Portia Scott 75% to 25%.
Lewis was reelected 18 times, dropping below 70 percent of the vote in the general election only once in 1994, when he defeated Republican Dale Dixon by a 38-point margin, 69%–31%. He ran unopposed in 1996, 2004, 2006, and 2008, and again in 2014 and 2018.
He was challenged in the Democratic primary just twice: in 1992 and 2008. In 1992, he defeated State Representative Mable Thomas 76%–24%. In 2008, Thomas decided to challenge Lewis again; Markel Hutchins also contested the race. Lewis defeated Hutchins and Thomas 69%–16%–15%.
An official portrait of Lewis
Lewis represented Georgia's 5th congressional district, one of the most consistently Democratic districts in the nation. Since its formalization in 1845, the district has been represented by a Democrat for most of its history.
Lewis was one of the most liberal congressmen to have represented a district in the Deep South. He was categorized as a "Hard-Core Liberal" by On the Issues.The Washington Post described Lewis in 1998 as "a fiercely partisan Democrat but ... also fiercely independent". Lewis characterized himself as a strong and adamant liberal.The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said Lewis was the "only former major civil rights leader who extended his fight for human rights and racial reconciliation to the halls of Congress".The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also said that to "those who know him, from U.S. senators to 20-something congressional aides", he is called the "conscience of Congress". Lewis cited Florida Senator and later Representative Claude Pepper, a staunch liberal, as being the colleague whom he most admired. Lewis also spoke out in support of gay rights and national health insurance.
Lewis drew on his historical involvement in the Civil Rights Movement as part of his politics. He made an annual pilgrimage to Alabama to retrace the route he marched in 1965 from Selma to Montgomery – a route Lewis worked to make part of the Historic National Trails program. That trip became "one of the hottest tickets in Washington among lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, eager to associate themselves with Lewis and the movement. 'We don't deliberately set out to win votes, but it's very helpful", Lewis said of the trip'." In recent years, however, Faith and Politics Institute drew criticism for selling seats on the trip to lobbyists for at least $25,000 each. According to the Center for Public Integrity, even Lewis said that he would feel "much better" if the institute's funding came from churches and foundations instead of corporations.
On June 3, 2011, the House passed a resolution 268–145, calling for a withdrawal of the United States military from the air and naval operations in and around Libya. Lewis voted against the resolution.
In a 2002 op-ed, Lewis mentioned a response by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to an anti-Zionist student at a 1967 Harvard meeting, quoting "When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism." In describing the special relationship between African Americans and American Jews in working for liberation and peace, he also gave other statements by King to the same effect, including one from March 25, 1968: "Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality."
Lewis "strongly disagreed" with the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and co-sponsored resolution condemning the pro-Palestinian group, but he supported Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib's House resolution opposing U.S. anti-boycott legislation banning the boycott of Israel. He explained his support as "a simple demonstration of my ongoing commitment to the ability of every American to exercise the fundamental First Amendment right to protest through nonviolent actions".
In March 2003, Lewis spoke to a crowd of 30,000 in Oregon during an anti-war protest before the start of the Iraq War. In 2006 and 2009 he was arrested for protesting against the genocide in Darfur outside the Sudanese embassy. He was one of eight U.S. Representatives, from six states, arrested while holding a sit-in near the west side of the U.S. Capitol building, to advocate for immigration reform.
At first, Lewis supported Hillary Clinton, endorsing her presidential campaign on October 12, 2007. On February 14, 2008, however, he announced he was considering withdrawing his support from Clinton and might instead cast his superdelegate vote for Barack Obama: "Something is happening in America and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap."Ben Smith of Politico said that "it would be a seminal moment in the race if John Lewis were to switch sides."
On February 27, 2008, Lewis formally changed his support and endorsed Obama. After Obama clinched the Democratic nomination for president, Lewis said "If someone had told me this would be happening now, I would have told them they were crazy, out of their mind, they didn't know what they were talking about ... I just wish the others were around to see this day. ... To the people who were beaten, put in jail, were asked questions they could never answer to register to vote, it's amazing." Despite switching his support to Obama, Lewis drew criticism from his constituents for his support of Clinton for several months. One of his challengers in the House primary election set up campaign headquarters inside the building that served as Obama's Georgia office.
In October 2008, Lewis issued a statement criticizing the presidential campaign of John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin and accusing them of "sowing the seeds of hatred and division" in a way that brought to mind the late Gov. George Wallace and "another destructive period" in American political history. McCain said he was "saddened" by the criticism from "a man I've always admired", and called on Obama to repudiate Lewis's statement. Obama responded to the statement, saying that he "does not believe that John McCain or his policy criticism is in any way comparable to George Wallace or his segregationist policies". Lewis later issued a follow-up statement clarifying that he had not compared McCain and Palin to Wallace himself, but rather that his earlier statement was a "reminder to all Americans that toxic language can lead to destructive behavior".
On an African American being elected president, he said:
If you ask me whether the election ... is the fulfillment of Dr. King's dream, I say, 'No, it's just a down payment.' There's still too many people 50 years later, there's still too many people that are being left out and left behind.
After Obama's swearing-in ceremony as president, Lewis asked him to sign a commemorative photograph of the event. Obama signed it, "Because of you, John. Barack Obama."
2016 firearm safety legislation sit-in
House Democrats, led by Lewis, take the floor to begin a sit-in demanding gun safety legislation on June 22, 2016
In 1988, the year after he was sworn into Congress, Lewis introduced a bill to create a national African American museum in Washington. The bill failed, and for 15 years he continued to introduce it with each new Congress. Each time it was blocked in the Senate, most often by conservative Southern Senator Jesse Helms. In 2003, Helms retired. The bill won bipartisan support, and President George W. Bush signed the bill to establish the museum, with the Smithsonian's Board of Regents to establish the location. The National Museum of African American History and Culture, located adjacent to the Washington Monument, held its opening ceremony on September 25, 2016.
Lewis supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries against Bernie Sanders. Regarding Sanders' role in the civil rights movement, Lewis remarked "To be very frank, I never saw him, I never met him. I chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years, from 1963 to 1966. I was involved in sit-ins, in the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the March from Selma to Montgomery ... but I met Hillary Clinton". Former Congressman and Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie wrote a letter to Lewis expressing his disappointment with Lewis's comments about Sanders. Lewis later clarified his statement, saying "During the late 1950s and 1960s when I was more engaged, [Sanders] was not there. I did not see him around. I have never seen him in the South. But if he was there, if he was involved someplace, I was not aware of it ... The fact that I did not meet him in the movement does not mean I doubted that Senator Sanders participated in the civil rights movement, neither was I attempting to disparage his activism."
In a January 2016 interview, Lewis compared Donald Trump, then the Republican front-runner for the presidential nomination, to former Alabama Governor George Wallace: "I've been around a while and Trump reminds me so much of a lot of the things that George Wallace said and did. I think demagogues are pretty dangerous, really ... We shouldn't divide people, we shouldn't separate people."
On January 13, 2017, during an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd for Meet the Press, Lewis stated: "I don't see the president-elect as a legitimate president." He added, "I think the Russians participated in having this man get elected, and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don't plan to attend the inauguration. I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians, and others, that helped him get elected. That's not right. That's not fair. That's not the open, democratic process." Trump replied on Twitter the following day, suggesting that Lewis should "spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to [...] mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results", and accusing Lewis of being "All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!" Trump's statement about Lewis's district was rated as "Mostly False" by PolitiFact, and he was criticized for attacking a civil rights leader such as Lewis, especially one who was brutally beaten for the cause, and especially on Martin Luther King weekend. Senator John McCain acknowledged Lewis as "an American hero" but criticized him, saying: "this is not the first time that Congressman Lewis has taken a very extreme stand and condemned without any shred of evidence for doing so an incoming president of the United States. This is a stain on Congressman Lewis's reputation – no one else's."
A few days later, Lewis said that he would not attend Trump's inauguration because he did not believe that Trump was the true elected president. "It will be the first (inauguration) that I miss since I've been in Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right", he said. Lewis had failed to attend George W. Bush's inauguration in 2001 because he believed that he too was not a legitimately elected president. Lewis's statement was rated as "Pants on Fire" by PolitiFact.
2020 presidential election
Lewis endorsed Joe Biden for president on April 7, 2020, a day before Biden effectively secured the Democratic nomination. He recommended Biden pick a woman of color as his running mate.
His life is also the subject of a 2002 book for young people, John Lewis: From Freedom Rider to Congressman. In 2012, Lewis released Across That Bridge, written with Brenda Jones, to mixed reviews. Publishers Weekly's review said, "At its best, the book provides a testament to the power of nonviolence in social movements ... At its worst, it resembles an extended campaign speech."
In 2013, Lewis became the first member of Congress to write a graphic novel, with the launch of a trilogy titled March. The March trilogy is a black and white comics trilogy about the Civil Rights Movement, told through the perspective of civil rights leader and U.S. Congressman John Lewis. The first volume, March: Book One is written by Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated and lettered by Nate Powell and was published in August 2013, the second volume, March: Book Two was published in January 2015 and the final volume, March: Book Three was published in August 2016.
In 2018, Lewis and Andrew Aydin co-wrote another graphic novel as a sequel to the March series entitled Run, which documents Lewis's life after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. The authors teamed with illustrator Afua Richardson for the book, which was originally scheduled to be released in August 2018, but was later rescheduled. It was released on August 3, 2021, a year after his death, as it was one of his last endeavours before he died.Nate Powell, who illustrated March, also contributed to the art.
Personal life and death
Lewis met Lillian Miles at a New Year's Eve party hosted by Xernona Clayton. They married in 1968. In 1976, they adopted one son, named John-Miles Lewis. Lillian died on December 31, 2012.
On December 29, 2019, Lewis announced that he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. He remained in the Washington D.C. area for his treatment. Lewis stated: "I have been in some kind of fight – for freedom, equality, basic human rights – for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now."
United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Lewis would lie in state in the United States Capitol Rotunda on July 27 and 28, with a public viewing and procession through Washington, D.C. He is the first African-American lawmaker to be so honored in the Rotunda; in October 2019 his colleague, representative Elijah Cummings, lay in state in the Capitol Statuary Hall. Health concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to a decision to have his casket displayed outdoors on the East Front steps during the public viewing hours, rather than the usual line of people in the Rotunda filing past the casket to pay their respects. On July 29, 2020, Lewis's casket left the U.S. Capitol and was transported back to Atlanta, Georgia, where he lay in state at the Georgia State Capitol.
Lewis penned an op-ed to the nation that was published in The New York Times on the day of his funeral. In it, he called on the younger generation to continue the work for justice and an end to hate.
Following his death, Troy University announced that the main building on its flagship campus would bear the name of John Lewis. The building, which was the oldest on campus, was previously named after Bibb Graves, a former governor of Alabama and high-ranking officer of the Ku Klux Klan.
On February 21, 2021, President Joe Biden marked Lewis's late birthday on Sunday, urging all Americans to “carry on his mission in the fight for justice and equality for all.” He tweeted, “While my dear friend may no longer be with us, his life and legacy provide an eternal moral compass on which direction to march. May we carry on his mission in the fight for justice and equality for all.”
Lewis attended comics conventions to promote his graphic novel, most notably the San Diego Comic-Con, which he attended in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017. During the 2015 convention, Lewis led, along with his graphic novel collaborators Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, an impromptu simulated Selma civil rights march arm in arm with children, during which he wore the same clothes as he did on Bloody Sunday, garnering thousands of con goers to participate. The event became so popular it was repeated in 2016 and 2017.
Reporting Civil Rights: American Journalism 1963–1973 (Library of America: 2003) ISBN1-931082-29-4
Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by John Lewis with Michael D'Orso, (Harvest Books: 1999) ISBN0-15-600708-8. The U.S. Congressman tells of life in the trenches of the Civil Rights Movement, the numerous arrests, sit-ins, and marches that led to breaking down the barriers of discrimination in the South during the 1950s and 1960s.
Across That Bridge by John Lewis with Brenda Jones, (Hyperion: 2012) ISBN978-1-4013-2411-7. Winner of the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work/Biography. It is an accessible discussion of Lewis's philosophy and his viewpoint of the philosophical basis of the Civil Rights Movement.
^"2004 Summit Highlights Photo". 2004. Archived from the original on September 17, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020. Awards Council member and actor James Earl Jones presents the Academy’s Golden Plate Award to Congressman John Lewis during the introductory evening of the 2004 International Achievement Summit in Chicago, Illinois.
^"Commencement Program, 1999". Open Archives: Digital Collections at the University of Massachusetts Boston. University of Massachusetts Boston. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
^"Yale awards honorary degrees to eight individuals for their achievements". Yale News. Yale University. May 18, 2017. Archived from the original on May 26, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017. From Freedom Rider to statesman, you have championed civil rights and public service for six decades. You have faced beatings, violence, and intimidation with steadfast nonviolence ... Devoted champion of America and of all of its people, in recognition of a lifetime of bold action and inspiring results, we are honored to present you with this Doctor of Laws degree.
SNCC Digital Gateway: John Lewis, Documentary website created by the SNCC Legacy Project and Duke University, telling the story of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and grassroots organizing from the inside-out