Letter to Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama - Representatives Cohen and Sewell and the Entire Alabama Congressional Delegation Ask Governor Ivey to Rename Highway for the Late John Lewis


Dear Governor Ivey,

We write today to urge you to honor Congressman John Lewis by naming U.S. Highway 80, from Selma to Montgomery, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Highway.

The sacrifices made by John Lewis in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches were essential to advancing civil rights to countless Americans. The heroism he demonstrated on Bloody Sunday in 1965 should not be forgotten and naming the highway in Congressman Lewis' honor is essential to recognizing this history.

As many cities across the country work to honor prominent African-American leaders and history through efforts to accurately reflect our nation's values, we encourage Alabama to do the same to uplift Congressman Lewis' teachings and continue to advance his message of peaceful protest. His march across the Alabama River blazed a trail to advancing racial justice, a path he continued to walk with grace and dignity throughout his life.

Portions of the highway are currently named after civil rights activists including, Amelia Platts Boynton-Robinson, Dr. Frederick D. Reese, Marie Foster, and John Hulett. Other sections are called the "International Voting Rights Trail" and the "Black Belt Nature and Heritage Trail." It is truly appropriate that parts of the highway should also bear the name of Congressman John Lewis in tribute and as inspiration to all Americans.

Specifically, we hope the portions of the highway from the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to the city of Montgomery be named for John Lewis, as this was the 54-mile stretch of highway where the march to Montgomery took place. However, we understand this decision will fall under your province.

Congressman Lewis fought for justice in everything he did up until the final day of this life and his life's work, which has helped advance the justice and equality in our nation, should never be forgotten. As John Lewis has graced us with his life, it is imperative that we promote his legacy to move our nation forward again.

Thank you for considering this request.