Civil Rights Activist

There are many activists that have lived or are living in this world. People can be an activist for different things they believe in. One type of activist is a Civil Rights Activist. There are many Civil Rights Activist that are famous. John Lewis and Andrew Young, Jr. are some of the most famous Civil Rights Activists of the 1950s and 1960s.

John Lewis was born on February 21, 1940, in Troy, Alabama. Troy, Alabama is a small rural town in the deep south(the deep south was a segregated area). In Troy, Alabama, he and his family grew up on a farm. John Lewis’s parents were sharecroppers who he would help at the farm. John Lewis also had many siblings growing up. He went to local county schools. He graduated from a segregated all-black high school in 1975. He decided to go to American Baptist College, but then later transferred to Fisk University. John Lewis ended up studying non-violent protest (John Lewis, Encyclopedia of Alabama). According to, John Lewis “chafed against the unfairness of segregation” (John Lewis, Biography). John Lewis was inspired by the Montgomery bus boycott led by Rosa Parks. He was also inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all his work he did. With all these inspiration he decided to become a Civil Rights Activist and lead non-violent protests. An example of a non-violent protest would be a peaceful sit-in, marches, and Civil Disobedience. After the Civil Rights Movement ended in 1968, John Lewis decided to become a politician. He was elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1981 and then in 1986 was elected to the House of Representatives. John Lewis is currently the representative of the 5th district of Georgia in Congress. Also, John Lewis had a family which consisted of a wife and one son. His wife Lillian Miles died December 31, 2012, similarly, John Miles Lewis (their son) died on June 1, 2004. John Lewis was one of the Big Six Civil Rights Activist and always will be one of the Big Six Civil Rights Activist (The Big Six Organizers of the March on Washington, Huffington Post).

Andrew Young Jr. was born on March 12, 1932, in New Orleans, Louisiana and is now currently eighty-six years of age. Louisiana is an Urban area in the deep south, a segregated area. Andrew Jackson Young, Sr. is Andrew Young, Jr.’s dad. Andrew Young, Jr.’s dad is a dentist. Andrew Young, Jr.’s mom, Daisy Fuller Young, is a teacher. Andrew Young, Jr.’s family is a middle-class family. Andrew Young, Jr. also has a brother named Walter Young. Andrew Young went to Gilbert Academy, which is a preparatory school for Dillard University, and graduated at the age of fifteen. During his Sophomore year he transferred out of Dillard University to Howard University. After attending Howard University Andrew Young was quoted saying “that he learned to embrace the strengths of a black middle class” (Andrew Young, Black Past). After Howard University he decided to study at Connecticut Hartford Theological Seminary to become a minister but then decided to get a Bachelor Science degree in Biology instead. Even though Andrew Young graduated with a Bachelor Science degree in Biology he still became a pastor at Bethany Congregational Church. After a while at the Bethany Congregational Church, he decided to leave and join the SCLC, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which lead him to become a famous civil rights activist. He believed in Gandhi's belief in nonviolent protests. According to, he oversaw many of the protests and he was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s right-hand man (Andrew Young, Biography). Andrew Young alongside other civil rights activist helped draw up the Civil Rights Act. The purpose of the Civil Rights Act is that it helped people have equal rights and the right to vote. In 1970 Andrew Young ran for Congress and lost nevertheless, in 1972 he was elected to the House of Representatives. Andrew Young to this day is still fighting to end all discrimination. Andrew Young won the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work to end discrimination. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest award a civilian can receive.

Dr. King introduced John Lewis and Andrew Young at a civil rights rally. They both quickly became good friends. John Lewis and Andrew Young worked together in the civil rights movement and they were both freedom riders. They both fought against segregation. In 1964 they helped make the Civil Rights Act of 1964. John Lewis and Andrew Young oversaw many peaceful protests together including the march on Selma. During the march on Selma, John Lewis cracked his head open because of police brutality, nevertheless he still survived. They made sure the protest were strictly non-violent. Examples of non-violent protests would be marches, sit-ins, Freedom Riding, and Civil Disobedience. They were able to make sure everyone could vote no matter the color of your skin. Some ways they were able to accomplish this was by giving speeches, using their political status to gain the support of the public, and showing the public that African Americans are people as well. Using these methods they were able to help desegregate society and make equal rights for all. Another big part of their work was being able to get people to stand up for their rights even though they were different (John Lewis, My Hero). John Lewis and Andrew Young proved that peaceful protest work and are even better than violent protests. They are both still politicians and will always be remembered as a very important civil rights activist. According to the Huffington Post, John Lewis is remembered as one of the big six of the Civil Rights Movement (The Big Six Organizers of the March on Washington, Huffington Post). They are still a very good friend and politicians to this day. John Lewis is a Congressman while Andrew Young is writing and producing documentary series “Andrew Young Presents” (Andrew Young Fast Facts). According to John Lewis one thing they accomplished was , "When we were organizing voter-registration drives, going on the Freedom Rides, sitting in, coming here to Washington for the first time, getting arrested, going to jail, being beaten, I never thought—I never dreamed—of the possibility that an African American would one day be elected president of the United States” (John Lewis, Biography).

John Lewis and Andrew Young are widely considered some of the most famous civil rights activist ever. They changed a lot in the society today, like giving African Americans the right to vote and getting rid of the Jim Crow Laws. They helped get equal rights for all. Andrew Young and John Lewis have changed many people's lives for the better. Without John Lewis, Andrew Young and a couple of other people, the United States still would most likely still be a segregated nation.

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