House gun control sit-in is a return to John Lewis’ roots

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February 14, 2015 Selma, AL: Congressman John Lewis on the Edmund Pettus Bridge February 14, 2015. On March 7, 1965 Hosea Williams and John Lewis led 600 civil rights activists across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a march for voting rights. Lewis had no idea the level of violence that awaited the group on the other side of the bridge. In what would become known around the country as as Bloody Sunday, state troopers and sheriff deputies used tear gas and clubs to break up the march. Leaving Lewis with a skull fracture and sending more than 50 others to the local hospital for treatment. BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

Congressman John Lewis on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on February 14, 2015, to mark the 50th anniverary of Bloody Sunday. BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

WASHINGTON — Sitting on the carpet of the House chamber may have been a new experience for U.S. Rep. John Lewis, but last week’s protest for gun control legislation that upended Capitol Hill for 26 hours and led to a new form of civil disobedience through social media represented a return to the Atlanta Democrat’s roots.

The revolt on the House floor began in much the same way as many of the 76-year-old’s protests did during the civil right era: quietly, resolutely and in the face of long odds.

The similarities were not unnoticed by Lewis.

“Sitting there on the floor, I felt like I was reliving my life all over again,” he said. “During the ’60s the sit-ins started with three or four people, and they spread like wildfire. This will spread.”

Read our Sunday write-up here. 

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