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Congressional leaders unveiled a new stamp Wednesday in a Capitol ceremony commemorating former Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon who served more than three decades in Congress and passed in 2020.

The stamp features a photograph of Lewis taken by Marco Grob on assignment for the August 26, 2013, issue of Time magazine.

Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general of the United States, added that the main post office facility in Atlanta would be named after Lewis in an August ceremony.

DeJoy said the Lewis forever stamp — which can be used to mail a one-ounce letter regardless of when the stamps are purchased or used — will be issued in July.

John Lewis stood in the middle of American history more than once

The 80-year-old Alabama-born legislator grew up the son of a sharecropper and led some 600 protesters in the Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. He also joined the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and four other civil rights leaders in organizing the 1963 March on Washington, speaking to the vast crowd just before King delivered his epochal “I Have a Dream” speech.

Lewis won his seat in Congress in 1986 and spent much of his career in the minority. After Democrats won control of the House in 2006, Lewis became his party’s senior deputy whip, a behind-the-scenes leadership post in which he helped keep the party unified.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., now the Democratic leader in the House, recalled meeting Lewis on the House floor in January 2013. Lewis called the freshman lawmaker over and told him that Washington can be a rough place. “So, young man, I don’t want you to get into any trouble, unless it’s good trouble.”

John Lewis, in his own words

We are one people with one family. We all live in the same house… and through books, through information, we must find a way to say to people that we must lay down the burden of hate. For hate is too heavy a burden to bear.

“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something. 

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” 

“Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.” 

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...