LBJ Foundation grants award to civil rights leader in D.C.

Allie Kolechta

The LBJ Foundation awarded the first LBJ Liberty and Justice for All awarded to Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights leader who worked with President Lyndon B. Johnson to pass major civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s.

“One of the key pieces of legislation that President Johnson hoped to pass was the Voting Rights Act,” said Anne Wheeler, a spokeswoman for the foundation. “John Lewis and other members of the legislature worked with the president to get it passed. It’s one of the most important pieces of the civil rights movement.”

Lewis attended a ceremony in Washington, D.C., where Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Ron Kirk, the former Dallas mayor and current U.S. trade representative gave him the award.

“John Lewis is a pioneer,” Wheeler said. “He showed great bravery for the advancement of civil rights and the result of that effort on his part was something very close to President Johnson.”