John Lewis and Michael D’Orso

The 1999 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award went to Congressman John Lewis for Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, written with Michael D’Orso.

John Lewis has been a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives serving Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since 1987. Born of a strong family amidst rural poverty, Congressman Lewis rose to become one of the civil rights movement’s most important leaders, serving as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee from 1963-1966. He was at the center of many of the defining events of the era, helping to organize sit-ins and the Freedom Rides, speaking at the March on Washington, and leading the walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Congressman Lewis remains a believer in the philosophy of nonviolent social action espoused by his mentor and friend, Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Tonight, I accept this honor on behalf of the unsung heroes who cared deeply, sacrificed much, and fought hard for a better America,” Congressman Lewis said in his acceptance speech.