When Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., busted a move to Pharrell’s hit song “Happy,” a video of his boogie went viral.
Now, the 74-year-old congressman is dancing his way to MVP status in the House Democratic Caucus’ Online All-Stars social media contest utilizing his swinging hips and his civil rights activism. Lewis is leading the three-week competition, launched June 30 by Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., with thousands of new Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube followers.
Over the course of the contest, Lewis hasn’t been shy about sharing his moves. A July 4 Instagram video shows him grooving with one of “Atlanta’s wonderful ladies,” and he promised more photos and videos of his dancing in a July 7 tweet .
If you would like to see more photos and even a video of me dancing every now and then please follow on Instagram: https://t.co/FGnQVUEFN0
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) July 7, 2014
But the former Freedom Rider left his biggest impact on social media with a viral tweet of a mugshot snapped in 1961 during one of the 45 times he’s been arrested. Lewis shared the photo to commemorate his release from Parchman Penitentiary in Mississippi following 37 days in prison on a charge of “disorderly conduct” for refusing to follow segregation law. (He once described the experience, and other brushes with the law, during an interview for the Southern Oral History Program.)
Another big hit on social media coincided with the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act. Lewis caused a stir when he declared that if the bill was before Congress today, “it would not pass, it would probably never make it to the floor for a vote.”
If the Civil Rights Act was before the Congress today, it would not pass, it would probably never make it to the floor for a vote.
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) July 2, 2014
According to a virtual scoreboard the minority whip’s office is using to share results with the public, Lewis is engaging more followers than any of his fellow lawmakers. If the winning streak continues, then Lewis could take home a trophy when the contest ends on July 21.
Correction 6:26 p.m. An earlier version of this post misstated which office is using a virtual scoreboard to share results. It is the minority whip’s office.