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About John R. Lewis

Congressman John R. Lewis was the quintessential American. He understood the difference between right and wrong at an early age. As a young boy, Lewis fought for the right of every child to have access to information, resources, and books in his rural Alabama hometown after he was denied a library card because of his color.

We all know John R. Lewis’ story, but every story has a beginning….

The fight for social justice began at Fisk University years before Lewis ever attended.

Notable Fisk luminaries such as W.E.B. Du Bois, John Hope Franklin, Ida B. Wells, Diane Nash,
Nikki Giovanni, and L.D. Riddick has all been part of this legacy.

Less known, but equally notable are George Edmond Haynes, a 1903 Fisk graduate who returned in 1910 to create and teach the first college course on African American history and culture, and Rufus Lewis, a 1931 graduate who started the first voter registration drive in Alabama and nominated Martin Luther King, Jr. to lead the Montgomery Improvement Association.

The John R. Lewis Institute For Social Justice is a continuation of the famous Race Relations Institute ( RRI ), which shaped so many of the conversations and policies during the 60s and 70s.
The social, political, and economic issues that RRI founder Fisk President Charles S. Johnson identified during the 1940s are still critical to addressing and improving the existing disparities in the African American community.

It is in their spirit that we name the John R. Lewis Institute For Social Justice. Your financial support is greatly appreciated.