Civil rights icon John Lewis, more to be honored with new USPS stamps

(WASHINGTON) — Late Georgia Rep. John Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement who served in Congress for decades, will be memorialized with a new postage stamp in 2023.

“Devoted to equality and justice for all Americans, Lewis spent more than 30 years in Congress steadfastly defending and building on key civil rights gains that he had helped achieve in the 1960s,” the U.S. Postal Service said in a news release on Tuesday.

“Even in the face of hatred and violence, as well as some 45 arrests, Lewis remained resolute in his commitment to what he liked to call ‘good trouble,"” the agency said.

Lewis died in July 2020, some seven months after he announced he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Also known as the “conscience of the U.S. Congress,” Lewis represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District as a Democrat from 1987 until his death.

A force in the 20th-century civil rights movement, Lewis joined the Freedom Riders in demonstrating against segregated buses; spoke at the 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. famously delivered his “I Have a Dream” address; and was violently beaten in 1965’s “Bloody Sunday” while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America,” Lewis said as he delivered remarks at the bridge in March 2020 for the 55th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.”

“I thought I was going to die on this bridge, but somehow and some way, God almighty helped me here,” Lewis said then. “We cannot give up now, we cannot give in, we must keep the faith, keep our eyes on the prize.”

In 2018, Lewis spoke out against then-President Donald Trump in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

“As a nation and as a people, we have come so far. We have made so much progress. Here in Georgia, when I visit schools, whether it’s elementary school students, middle school students, they’re Black, they’re white, they’re Latino, they’re Asian American, they’re Native American. And they look like the dream and act like the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We have come so far. We made so much progress. And I think this man, this president, is taking us back to another place,” Lewis said.

The photograph of Lewis that is being used for the new postage stamp was taken in 2013 by Marco Grob for Time magazine. The stamp design is preliminary and subject to change.

The postal service on Tuesday announced seven new subjects for stamps in 2023, including the “art of the skateboard” and the “Florida Everglades.”

The announcement adds to a list of 2023 stamps that also includes late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, authors Toni Morrison and Ernest J. Gaines and Native American civil rights leader Chief Standing Bear.

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