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While a student at Fisk University in Nashville, John Lewis worked with other student activists like Diane Nash to organize nonviolent sit-ins at Nashville lunch counters. Lewis, Nash, and others formed the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and Lewis served as the group’s chair in 1961. As part of his early activism, he is known for work as one of the “Big Six” leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington. During that period, he fulfilled many key roles during the Civil Rights Movement and its efforts to end legalized racial segregation in the United States. In 1965, Lewis led the first of three Selma to Montgomery marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. In an incident which became known as Bloody Sunday, state troopers and police attacked Lewis and other marchers. Lewis inscribed this copy of his memoir to the “Citizens of Tennessee.”
Gallery: Tennessee Transforms
Accession Number: 2004.91.2