Today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) announced that the House will vote this week on a 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). Leader Cantor and Congressman Lewis released the following statements:
Leader 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.'"
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.