This post was originally published on this site
‘We need the press to be a headlight and not a taillight,’ Lewis once told an audience of Pulitzer winners.
At a time when the American news media had come under attack as the “enemy of the people,” Rep. John Lewis had this to say to Mike Pride, then director of the Pulitzer Prizes: “Without the press, the Civil Rights movement would have been a bird without wings.”
Pride tweeted that memory in tribute to Lewis, who died last week at the age of 80. The conversation with Lewis happened on March 31, 2016, during an evening celebration in St. Petersburg, Florida, where Poynter was hosting an event to commemorate the centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes. We were to focus on prizes that had been awarded on topics related to race and social justice.
John Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement, a champion of voting rights, a hero of Selma’s “Bloody Sunday,” agreed to deliver the keynote address.
Fourteen years earlier, at the launch of a book about journalism and civil rights in the 1960s hosted at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, I met Rep. John Lewis for the first time. I read aloud from a famous column written by Eugene Patterson in 1963, when Patterson was editor of the Constitution. He had written in passionate response to the bombing of a Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama, resulting in the deaths of four young Black girls.
“Your reading brought tears to my eyes,” Rep. Lewis said afterward.
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2020/the-wings-of-the-bird-rep-john-lewis-and-his-view-of-the-american-press/