Photo credit: Mark Humphrey/AP Photo)
On the last day of Black History Month, Harvard University has announced civil rights icon and U.S. Representative John Lewis as its 2018 commencement speaker.
As a leader in the civil rights movement, Mr. Lewis has a long history of service. From being one of the original freedom fighters, to leading the first Selma to Montgomery March (known as Bloody Sunday), to being the youngest speaker at the March on Washington, to representing Georgia’s 5th District for over three decades.
“For more than 50 years, John Lewis has dedicated himself to the ideals of equality and decency, standing up for what is right, even when it meant putting himself in harm’s way,” the school’s website reports Harvard President Drew Faust saying. “His public service legacy is unparalleled, and he is an inspiration to me and to countless other people across the United States and around the world.”
Lewis, who graduated from Fisk University and the American Baptist Theological Seminary, has been awarded over 50 honorary degrees for his life’s work, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for Lifetime Achievement (the only one ever granted by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation).
Faust added: “As president of Harvard, I have been fortunate to welcome Rep. Lewis to campus on several occasions, most memorably in 2012 when he was awarded an honorary degree and in 2016 when he joined me in dedicating a plaque on Wadsworth House in honor of four enslaved persons who lived there in the 1700s. I look forward to hearing his message at Commencement.”
Harvard’s 367th commencement is set to be held on May 24.