POLITICS

John Lewis At Selma Anniversary: 'There's Still Work Left To Be Done'

03/07/2015 03:56 pm ET | Updated Mar 08, 2015

Returning once more to the famed bridge where he faced police beatings in a march for voting rights, civil rights icon and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) called for further action on behalf of justice in America.

"There's still work left to be done. Get out there and push and pull until we redeem the soul of America," Lewis said at Saturday's 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," a watershed moment of the 1960s civil rights movement.

Lewis was only 25 years old when he marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965. In an introductory speech for President Barack Obama, Lewis explained that the city remained a place of extreme importance to America's history.

"We come to Selma to be renewed. We come to be inspired. We come to be reminded that we must do the work that justice and equality calls us to do," he said.

The congressman gave a stirring account of the confrontation with police that occurred on the bridge behind him.

"Some of us were left bloody ... but we never became bitter," he said. "Our country will never, ever be the same after what happened on this bridge."

He urged Americans to take heart from the historic events that took place there, and to keep marching for progress.

"Don't give up on things of great meaning to you. Don't get lost in a sea of despair. Stand up for what you believe," he said.

Lewis took to Twitter earlier on Saturday to share his recollection of the march through a powerful series of tweets.

Also on HuffPost:

  • Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
    People wait to hear President Barack Obama speak in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 2015, in Selma, Alabama.
  • Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
    Police watch over a crowd on Broad Street before an event at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
  • Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
    People wait in line to attend an anniversary event at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
  • Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
    Reverend C. T. Vivian (C) arrives for an event at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
  • Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
    People listen as US President Barack Obama speaks at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 2015 in Selma, Alabama.
  • Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
    People wait in line to attend an anniversary event at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
  • Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
    Police officers block Broad Street near the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
  • Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
    People wait in line to attend an anniversary event at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
  • Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
    People wait in line to attend an anniversary event at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
  • Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
    People wait in line to attend an anniversary event at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
  • Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
    People wait to hear President Barack Obama speak in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
  • Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
    People attend an event marking the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 2015.
  • Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
    A crowd looks on as U.S. president Barack Obama speaks in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 2015 in Selma, Alabama
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