CertMag salutes John Lewis on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Today is a holiday in the United States that honors Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader who dedicated his adult life to ending racial inequality. Dr. King focused his work on the racial divide in the United States, but his wise words have universal application. You don’t have to be an American to appreciate the profound wisdom of a statement like, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
Martin Luther King Jr. died April 4, 1968 at the tragically young age of 39, shot by an assassin at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. The federal holiday that commemorates his life and legacy was created during President Ronald Reagan’s first term in office and formally assigned to the third Monday in January in 1992 under President George H.W. Bush.
As we do on most holidays, we’ve prepared a thematically appropriate quiz. Past Martin Luther King Jr. Day quizzes have focused on Dr. King himself. Today, however, courtesy of our friends at GoCertify, we have chosen to honor the legacy of the late John Lewis, a colleague and supporter of King’s who passed away last year at age 80.
Lewis was just 15 the first time that he heard King speak, and only 18 the first time that he met him in person. At age 21, he became one of the original Freedom Riders, helping to carry out a historic bus tour of segregated U.S. states. A true giant of the Civil Rights Era, Lewis adhered to and added upon King’s vision and legacy for the rest of his life.
NOTE: To view last year’s quiz, click here.
1) An aspiring preacher from boyhood on, a young John Lewis initally honed his oratory by preaching to what congregation?
2) Which institution of higher learning in Alabama ignored Lewis’ application for admission, an outcome that inspired Lewis to write a letter to Martin Luther King Jr.?
3) What is the four-word phrase from his student nonviolent organizing years that Lewis used to encourage dissent and political engagement throughout his life?
4) As one of the 13 original Freedom Riders (seven blacks and six whites), Lewis achieved what unwelcome first in Rock Hill, South Carolina?
5) How many times had Lewis been arrested before assuming leadership of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1963?
6) What role did Lewis play in the “Bloody Sunday” march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.?
7) What year did Lewis first win election to the U.S. House of Representatives?
8) What legislation did Lewis introduce in 1988, one year after taking office for the first time, that stalled out in the Senate for the next 15 years?
9) Which Democratic candidate for president did John Lewis endorse in the 2008 U.S. presidential election?
10) What work resulted in Lewis’ winning a National Book Award in 2016?
1) Chickens. As a small boy, Lewis cared for a flock of chickens, who were the first of God’s creatures to hear him preach.
2) Troy State College (now Troy University). King discussed with Lewis the possibility of suing Troy State to get Lewis admitted, but warned that violent consequences could result. Lewis ultimately attended two schools, American Baptist Theological Institute and Fisk University, in Nashville, Tenn.
3) Lewis often encouraged hearers to become involved in “good trouble, necessary trouble” to advance progress toward racial equality and social justice.
4) Lewis was the first of the Freedom Riders to be physically assaulted. He was attacked when he and two of the other riders attempted to enter a “whites only” waiting room at an interstate bus terminal in Rock Hill.
5) 24. Lewis led the SNCC from 1963 to 1966.
6) Lewis and fellow activist Hosea Williams led more than 600 marchers across the bridge. Alabama State Troopers waiting on the far side of the bridge attempted to disperse the marchers using tear gas and night sticks. Lewis’ skull was fractured during the resulting chaos.
7) 1986. Lewis would go on to represent Georgia’s 5th congressional district for the next 34 years, winning re-election 16 times.
8) Lewis sponsored a bill to create a national black history museum in Washington, D.C., which he put forward each year until 2003, when it was finally signed into law following the retirement of Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, a consistent critic of the proposed legislation. The National Museum of African American History and Culture was formally opened Sept. 25, 2016.
9) Barack Obama. After initially endorsing Hillary Clinton on Oct. 12, 2007, Lewis formally switched his endorsement to Obama on Feb. 27, 2008. After Obama took his oath of office, Lewis asked the new president to sign a commemorative photo. Obama wrote: “Because of you, John. Barack Obama.”
10) Lewis won the 2016 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature for March a three-volume black-and-white graphic novel about his own experiences in the Civil Rights movement. Lewis and Andrew Aydin wrote the text, with illustrations by Nate Powell.