Members of Congress Visit Museum and Memorial

Rep. John Lewis at National Memorial for Peace and Justice

Dozens of members of Congress visited the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice on Friday as part of a civil rights pilgrimage through Alabama.


Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a civil rights activist who was beaten by Alabama troopers during a march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery, said the sites "tell the story of our struggle and our history, and it's informing people that despite of all of the progress that we've made that we still have so far to go."


Rep. Lewis told the Montgomery Advertiser that it's important for people to witness the history chronicled in the museum and memorial.


I've been deeply moved, and deeply touched by what I witnessed here. . . We cannot repeat this part of our history. People (here) can get a better understanding of what we were trying to do during the early days of the civil rights movement, whether it was in Selma, or Montgomery, or Birmingham. It helps to sensitize people to understand the role they can play now, and in the years to come, in their official positions.


Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell were among the lawmakers who spent time at the sites.


Rep. Sewell said she was proud to have such a robust group visit her home state this year and get a chance to visit the memorial.


What's been great about this year is to share all the new sites here in Montgomery. Montgomery, in and of itself, has become a destination for reconciliation and healing. In a time when Congress has been considered to be so contentious, with a lack of civility, to have a bipartisan and bicameral group come to Alabama and walk in the footsteps of John Lewis is great. It reminds us that we're all human. Those who don't know their history are bound to repeat it.


The annual civil rights trip is sponsored by the Faith and Politics Institute.


Photo: John Lewis at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (Jake Crandall/Montgomery Advertiser)