PHILADELPHIA (AP) — U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia has been awarded the Philadelphia's Liberty Medal for his dedication to civil rights.
Lewis is a civil rights veteran who was repeatedly threatened with violence while working for voting rights in the Jim Crow South. He was also the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. He has represented Georgia in the U.S. House since 1987.
In announcing the award in June, National Constitution Center CEO Jeffrey Rosen says Lewis' leadership "helped to extend the blessings of liberty and equality to all Americans."
Lewis received a standing ovation Monday night and told the crowd that he never sought fame or fortune. He said all he wanted to do was help out and to make the country and world community a little better. Lewis said, "You made me cry tonight. I will never, ever forget this evening."
The medal is given annually to those who strive to secure liberty for people worldwide.
Previous Liberty Medal winners include the Dalai Lama, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and rock singer Bono.