John Lewis Accepts National Book Award With Emotional Speech
As a teenager, the congressman wasn’t even allowed to get a library card because of his race.
In a powerful acceptance speech at the National Book Awards ceremony Wednesday night, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) recalled how far he had come to receive the honor. “And I remember in 1956, when I was 16 years old, some of my brothers and sisters and cousins going down to the public library, trying to get library cards,” Lewis said, clutching his award. “And we were told that the library was for whites only and not for coloreds.”