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REP. JOHN LEWIS ADDRESSES THE TITANS IN ALEXANDRIA

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Washington, November 16, 2015 | Thomas Scanlon ((202) 225 4376) | comments
At the request of Rep. Don Beyer, civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis visited Alexandria's T.C. Williams High School this morning, where he spoke with humor and a deep sense of history to hundreds of students gathered in the school's auditorium.
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At the request of Rep. Don Beyer, civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis visited Alexandria's T.C. Williams High School this morning, where he spoke with humor and a deep sense of history to hundreds of students gathered in the school's auditorium.

Rep. Lewis spoke of asking his parents, who were sharecroppers, why racism and segregation existed.  “That’s the way it is, John,” his parents told him.  “Don’t get in the way, don’t get in trouble.”

The students, primarily juniors and seniors studying U.S. history or government, sat rapt and then asked questions, mainly about his teachings of nonviolence.

Rep. Lewis is the only surviving member of the "Big Six," the leaders of the most prominent African-American civil rights organizations during the height of the movement, in the 1960s.  He was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.  The 2014 movie Selma, which told the story of the mid-1960s and an epic chapter of the civil rights movement, depicted Rep. Lewis' leadership in the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, when he was beaten and suffered a fractured skull.

"After watching Selma and thinking about T.C. Williams' own moving story of integration, I thought it would be powerful to have John Lewis speak to today's Titans, and it was," Beyer said.

“I heard Rosa Parks. I heard Martin Luther King. And I got in the way.  I got in trouble.  But good trouble,” Rep. Lewis said.  “Go out there and lead.”

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