On Wednesday, April 23rd Chargé d’affaires of the United States of America Stuart Dwyer hosted a reception to honor U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, Congressman and Civil Rights Leader John Lewis, and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley as part of a delegation who were in Dublin for the Faith and Politics Institute’s 2014 “Ireland and Northern Ireland Peace and Reconciliation Program.”
Following the main reception, the delegation met with Irish Youth Leaders to discuss the Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. Montgomery’s police chief Kevin Murphy also attended the discussion. Murphy was honored by President Barack Obama last month for his act of apologizing for the Montgomery Police Department failing to protect Freedom Riders beaten in the city in 1961.
While still a young man, John Lewis became a nationally recognized leader. By 1963, he was dubbed one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. At the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963 where Martin Luther King gave his historic “I Have a Dream Speech.” During his speech at the Ambassador residence Rep. Lewis said he was delighted to be in Ireland and thanked the Irish “for being you”. He also finished by saying “So my friends, keep the faith. Don’t give up, give in or give out. Don’t get lost in a sea of despair, but keep your eyes on the prize. Walk with the wind, and let the spirit of Frederick Douglass and Daniel O’Connell be your guide.”