Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) said Friday that although he has seen the country make much progress in civil rights since the March on Washington in 1963, there are still “forces all across our country” that seek to challenge the movement.
“If someone had told me 50 years ago that an African-American would be in the White House as the president, I probably would have said you’re crazy. You are out of your mind. You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Lewis told MSNBC’s Rev. Al Sharpton in an interview at the National Mall, where he addressed crowds 50 years ago. “The country is a different country, and we’re better people.”
When asked to compare challenges to the civil rights movement in that era to today, Lewis, a vocal supporter of the Voting Rights Act, said the movement still faces resistance.
“Forces, not just forces in the American South, but forces all across our country want to take us back to another period and we have to say, ‘We are not going back, we have come too far now to stop,’” he said.
Watch the interview below, courtesy of MSNBC:
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.