(The Root) — For an episode of This Week in Blackness, Elon James White caught up with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) last month during the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference to get the congressman’s perspective on voter-ID laws and voter suppression in the lead-up to Election Day in November.
Lewis, a civil rights legend, recalls fighting against disenfranchisement during his time working with the SNCC in the 1960s, arguing that voters must not let history repeat itself. “Some of us gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma in March of 1965 for the right to vote,” Lewis told White.
According to Lewis, the battle over voting rights has moved beyond the South, finding its way to states above the Mason-Dixon line with voter-ID laws, restrictive voting hours and the demise of early voting.
“Voting is the most powerful, nonviolent instrument, or tool, we have in a democratic society,” Lewis told White. “People struggled too long, too hard. Some people were beaten, jailed, and some people were murdered for trying to vote.”
Watch more of Lewis’ remarks on voter suppression below.