In 1965, long before coming to Capitol Hill, future Congressman John Lewis led 600 people on a march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama to question Governor George C. Wallace's role in subverting black voting rights in his state. Wallace is the same man who less than a year before famously declared “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” Having already been beaten several times from participating in the Freedom Rides and numerous other marches throughout the South, Lewis crossed Edmund Pettus Bridge into a wall of state troopers. So bent on conflict, those officers had already donned their gas masks and had their billy clubs at the ready. They had every intention of kicking Lewis’s ass. Not only did he and the marchers keep going forward to meet them, but they did so with no intention of fighting back.
Congressman Lewis still bears scars from that day now remembered as Bloody Sunday.