By Nicolle Berroa, age 13

“[He] was the most important bridge between the wonderful legacy of the civil rights movement and the message of hope and change,” said Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a Harvard Law School professor and civil rights lawyer. 

  1. I was born in Huntsville, Alabama, on October 6, 1921, and I died, age 98, on March 27, 2020, in Atlanta.
  2. When I was just 11 years old, a white police officer hit me in the belly with his nightstick and made a racially charged comment to me as I stepped out of my father’s candy store.
  3. I experienced firsthand the brutalities of the Jim Crow South and spent my life fighting for racial justice.
  4. I was the co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In this position, I promoted economic empowerment for black Americans.
  5. Before Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery bus, I had already successfully campaigned to integrate buses in Mobile, Alabama. After her arrest, I worked with Dr. King to organize a 381-day boycott of Montgomery’s segregated buses.
  6. As a result of the bus boycott, the Supreme Court ended racial segregation on buses in Montgomery and across the rest of the United States.
  7. In 1982, I organized one of the longest civil rights marches in history,  from Carrollton to Montgomery in Alabama, with more than 3,500 people demanding the extension of the Voting Rights Act.
  8. In 2009, President Obama awarded me the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. I was also awarded the NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award, World Peace Council Award and many more.

 

 

 

 

(Answer: Rev. Joseph Lowery)