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Secretary Merrill Reflects on the Legacy of Congressman John Lewis


Saturday, July 18, 2020 - MONTGOMERY - The following is a direct statement is from Secretary of State John H. Merrill:

Last night, America lost one of her most beloved and courageous heroes, Congressman John Lewis, who leaves behind a legacy of determination, change, and equality.


A native of rural Pike County in Southeast Alabama, Congressman John Lewis grew up experiencing firsthand the difficulties and disparities of racism at the time. Recognizing the need for change, John Lewis set out on a journey to achieve equality for all people through his commitment to non-violent social change.


Dedicated to both education and activism, he recruited hundreds to make that change happen through sit-ins at lunch counters and by crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where he so bravely led hundreds more than fifty-five years ago during the March from Selma to Montgomery.

Teaching others about the movement that unfolded right here in Alabama, Congressman Lewis was one of our greatest  civil rights champions!  John Lewis‘s legacy serves as a reminder of our past and the long way we have come in this struggle and all we have accomplished! However, we can never forget the work to be done and the long way we have to go.

He once said, ‘If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.” And those words still ring true today.

During our many visits together, he always left me wanting to do more to ensure that every person, regardless of race, religion, gender, or status, had the opportunity to vote in free and fair elections! These conversations are forever engrained in my memory.

I will always cherish his friendship and the example he set for me and everyone that is interested in leaving our community, state, nation, and world better than we found it!

His family, friends, colleagues and all people who desire peace, justice, and equality are in our thoughts and prayers.