John Lewis honored Martin Luther King Jr. for the civil rights leader's birthday.

Representative John Lewis Honors Martin Luther King Jr. In Touching Twitter Tribute

John Lewis, the representative for Georgia’s fifth congressional district and a civil rights activist, honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the civil rights leader’s eponymous holiday.

Lewis worked closely with King during the most tumultuous years of the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. Lewis and King were both considered some of the “big six” civil rights leaders at the time, comprised of chairmen and prominent leaders of civil rights groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

In addition to Martin Luther King and Lewis, “big six” activists also included James Farmer, founder of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and A. Philip Randolph, a labor organizer who orchestrated the first labor union of the Pullman Company that mostly employed African Americans. The “big six” was also comprised of Roy Wilkins, who was named the executive director of the NAACP in 1955, and National Urban League activist Whitney Young.

People honor Martin Luther King's birthday in Atlanta.
People honor Martin Luther King’s birthday in Atlanta. [Image by Branden Camp/AP Images]

During his King Twitter tribute, Lewis touched on a number of important achievements by the civil rights leader. Lewis invoked one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speeches, “I Have a Dream,” which Lewis also spoke at during the 1963 March on Washington.

“Dr. King taught us to recognize the dignity and worth of every human being. He was the moral compass of our nation. ,” Lewis tweeted on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Lewis also shared a series of historic images of King’s civil rights activism, including King marching, getting arrested, and sitting with other activists during the Freedom Ride, a nonviolent protest to integrate interstate bus lines.

Lewis honored King on Twitter, the representative’s first tweets since president-elect Donald Trump lashed out at Lewis for saying Trump was not a “legitimate president.” Instead of responding to Trump’s insults, Lewis talked about the important impact of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. being pushed by a Mississippi police officer during a march in 1966.
Martin Luther King Jr. being pushed by a Mississippi police officer during a march in 1966. [Image by AP Images]

Trump’s attacks on Lewis began Friday after Lewis told NBC News that the representative didn’t believe Trump was a “legitimate president” due to the Russian hacking scandal surrounding his election. Trump drew national ire for insulting Lewis, considering the president-elect not only belittled a civil rights leader, but he did it on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.

According to Politico, on Monday vice president-elect Mike Pence told Fox & Friends that he was “disappointed” by Lewis’s comments.

Trump White House press secretary Sean Spicer also derided Lewis, stating, “[Y]ou know, Congressman Lewis started this,” on NBC’s Today show.

However, Lewis is one of many democratic politicians who plan to boycott Trump’s inauguration on January 20.

While Pence and Spicer were criticizing Lewis’ comments about president-elect Trump, Lewis focused on the importance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Lewis is the only member of the “big six” who is still alive. Lewis has been a Georgia congressman since 1987 and has often utilized his civil rights training in politics. In June of 2016, Lewis, alongside other Democratic Congress members, staged a sit-in on the congress floor to protest Republican blockades against gun control.

Lewis ended his tribute to his friend, Martin Luther King Jr., by delivering a general call for justice and activism in a time of political strife.

Lewis stated, “Our nation has at times created & enforced unjust laws. It is up to people of conscience to expose such injustice through nonviolent means.”

[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]

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