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First Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and now John Lewis: Lawmakers get the documentary treatment

CNN’s John Lewis film will follow the civil rights icon and lawmaker

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., walks up the House steps for a vote in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., walks up the House steps for a vote in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Civil rights icon John Lewis will become the latest political figure to get the film treatment when CNN wraps production on a documentary following the lawmaker from the 2018 midterm election through 2019.The film, which is currently untitled, will feature present-day interviews with the Georgia Democrat and explore his childhood and more than 60-year career in public service and social activism, which was inspired by a 1957 meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The documentary will also include interviews with Lewis’ family, political leaders and congressional colleagues, according to CNN Films.The Lewis film comes on the heels of several CNN-produced political documentaries and miniseries, including ones on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Richard Nixon and the Bush political dynasty. Meanwhile, Netflix just released a 2018 campaign documentary that heavily features New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, is the subject of a comic book series from Devils Due comics. (Lewis got his own comic book series a few years back.)

The Georgia Democrat started as a civil rights activist in the 1960s by helping to form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The group included many figures who would go on to prominence, including Stokely Carmichael, James Forman, Julian Bond, late D.C. mayor Marion Barry and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Lewis played a key role in some of the most famous episodes in civil rights history, including the 1961 “freedom rides” to desegregate interstate bus stops in the South and the 1963 March on Washington, where he was the youngest speaker. But he is perhaps best known for leading the 1965 march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. Known as “Bloody Sunday,” the first attempt at the 54-mile march from Selma to the state Capitol in Montgomery would culminate with Lewis and other protesters beaten and tear-gassed by state troopers at the bottom of Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. Lewis leads an annual trip to Selma for lawmakers to commemorate the march and subsequent passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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