Photograph of John Lewis – Civil Rights Leader, U.S. Congressman, Rosenwald School Former Student

Andrew Feiler2021

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Atlanta, United States

Rosenwald schools were a meaningful force in the rise of the civil rights movement. Many of the leaders and foot soldiers of the movement were educated in these schools. Rosenwald school former student Medgar Evers became Mississippi field secretary for the NAACP. He was later murdered for his activism. Poet and writer Maya Angelou became the northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She would later write about her days in an Arkansas Rosenwald school in her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Carlotta Walls LaNier, and several of her fellow members of the Little Rock Nine, attended a Rosenwald school before walking into history to integrate Little Rock Central High School.

John Lewis, who attended a Rosenwald school, was known as "the conscience of the U.S. Congress.” As a young boy growing up in rural Alabama, he was inspired by the activism of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He went on to organize sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters, participated in the Freedom Rides, helped organize activities during Freedom Summer, and served as chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He was a keynote speaker at the March on Washington in 1963, and in 1965, he, along with civil rights leader Hosea Williams, led voting rights marchers across Selma, Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge into the confrontation that became known as “Bloody Sunday”. In 1986, Lewis was elected to Congress and represented Georgia's Fifth Congressional District until his death in 2020.

About the Photographer: Andrew Feiler

Andrew Feiler is a fifth generation Georgian. Having grown up Jewish in Savannah, he has been shaped by the rich complexities of the American South. Andrew has long been active in civic life. He has helped create over a dozen community initiatives, serves on multiple not-for-profit boards, and is an active advisor to numerous elected officials and political candidates. His art is an extension of his civic values.
Andrew's photographs have been featured in such publications as Smithsonian, Wall Street Journal, Architect, Preservation, Slate, Lenscratch, Oxford American, and The Bitter Southerner. His work has been displayed in galleries and museums including solo exhibitions at such venues as the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Octagon Museum in Washington, D.C., International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, NC, and Burrison Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His work is in a number of public and private collections including that of Atlanta University Center and Emory University. More of his work can be seen at andrewfeiler.com.


  • Title: Photograph of John Lewis – Civil Rights Leader, U.S. Congressman, Rosenwald School Former Student
  • Creator: Andrew Feiler
  • Date Created: 2021

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