Today, Congressmen Eric Cantor (R-VA) and John Lewis (D-GA) announced that the House will vote this week on a bipartisan resolution instructing the Office of the Historian to compile testimonies from current and former Members of Congress who have participated in historic or commemorative Civil Rights Movement actions. This resolution offers the opportunity to preserve a powerful and transformative period in American history and has been introduced by members who represent cities in Alabama where landmark events of the movement took place, Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL). Fellow Virginian, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) has also played an important role in these historic efforts. Congressmen Cantor, Lewis and Scott released the following statements:
Congressman Cantor stated, "On March 7, 1965, Congressman John Lewis led hundreds of marchers in Selma, Alabama, in a pivotal moment that led our nation towards equality for all. This week, the House will recognize every Member of Congress who participated in the Selma marches forty-seven years ago, and the pilgrimages that have followed, by adding their testimonies to the historic record of the House. Their stories are part of our nation's heritage and serve as a reminder to every American of the determination and sacrifice that shaped the greater democracy we live in today."
Rep. Lewis stated, "This is a gracious act on the part of the Majority Leader and the House leadership to help preserve the history of our democracy. Without the brave and courageous souls who shed blood, sweat and tears in Alabama and throughout the South, this would be a very different nation today. It is very important that members of Congress understand and acknowledge the debt we owe to ordinary people with extraordinary vision who, as Dr. King once said, "injected new meaning into the very veins of our democracy.'"
Rep. Scott stated, "I have been humbled to attend several of the pilgrimages led by Congressman Lewis in the past and I commend him and Majority Leader Cantor for working together to preserve this unique perspective of the rich history of the civil rights movement. I look forward to working with them both in helping to highlight the many important acts of selflessness by Virginians of all colors and creeds that occurred throughout the Commonwealth during this important era of American history."
Since 1998, Rep. John Lewis has led a congressional delegation on a pilgrimage to civil rights sites in Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma, Alabama managed by The Faith and Politics Institute. The group meets with people who participated in civil rights actions in those cities and visits historic sites.