Congressman John Lewis, acclaimed civil rights leader, to speak at Tisch College, Tufts University on April 5

March 8, 2016

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Kalimah Redd Knight

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (March 8, 2015)— U.S. Rep. John Lewis (GA-5), an  icon of the civil rights movement and longtime champion of voting rights, will deliver this year’s Alan D. Solomont Lecture on Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University on April 5, 2016.

This free public event will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Cohen Auditorium on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus. Following the talk there will be select questions from the audience. Lewis, a leading figure in the civil rights movement who marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will share his experiences with the Tufts community and discuss the urgent issues facing our communities, our nation, and our world. The Solomont Lecture is presented by Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series, which brings leaders from a range of fields and perspectives to campus to discuss pressing public issues.

Tickets will be available for Tufts students, faculty and staff at the Cohen Box Office beginning Monday, March 28 at 9:30 am. You must present a valid Tufts ID. One ticket per ID and a maximum of two IDs per person. A limited number of seats for the public will also be available by emailing

Lewis has been the U.S. representative for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District since 1987 and is the dean of Georgia’s congressional delegation. He is the only living "Big Six" leader of the civil rights movement. As chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1963-1966, Lewis played a key role in the struggle to end legalized racial discrimination and segregation. He was a leader of the historic March on Washington in 1963, where he was a keynote speaker at the age of 23. In 1965, he organized and led marchers in Selma, Alabama across the Pettus Bridge on a day that became known as Bloody Sunday.  He has worked tirelessly over many decades to ensure the right to vote for all Americans and is a leading voice for human rights here and around the world. Lewis is the recipient of numerous awards, including the country’s highest civilian honor the Medal of Freedom, which was granted to him by President Barack Obama. He is co-author of “March,” the No. 1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel memoir trilogy which is used in schools across the country to teach students about the civil rights movement.

The Tisch College Distinguished Speaker Series, which launched in the fall of 2014, educates and engages students at Tufts, providing them with opportunities to interact with leaders in various fields. Previous speakers include television journalist David Gregory, Harvard President Emeritus Lawrence H. Summers, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.

The only university-wide college of its kind, the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service offers transformational student learning and service opportunities, conducts groundbreaking research on young people’s civic and political participation, and forges innovative community partnerships. Our work is guided by two core beliefs: that communities, nations and the world are stronger, more prosperous, and more just when citizens actively participate in civic and democratic life; and that higher education has a responsibility to develop the next generation of active citizens.


Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university is widely encouraged.