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John Lewis’ newphew reflects on uncle’s legacy at wreath laying ceremony

The Civil Rights Memorial Center opens Jubilee weekend with its annual wreath laying ceremony today.

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Today, March 1st at 1 p.m., the Civil Rights Memorial Center (CRMC), a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Alabama State Office, opens Jubilee weekend with its annual wreath laying ceremony.

Since 1998, the Faith & Politics Institute sponsored a pilgrimage that brought participants to civil rights sites in Alabama. By 2009, the late Rep. John R. Lewis began leading a congressional delegation, civil rights leaders, clergy, and others to the SPLC’s Civil Rights Memorial Center to lay a wreath honoring the men and women who lost their lives during the Civil Rights Movemen.

The CRMC revived the wreath laying ceremony in 2023 to honor the life and legacy of Congressman Lewis and the 40 martyrs inscribed on its Memorial. The names listed include activists who were targeted for death because of their civil rights work, were random victims of vigilantes determined to halt the modern Civil Rights Movement (1954 to 1968), and those who sacrificed their lives to bring new awareness to the struggle.

Featured speakers include:

Margaret Huang is the president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center and its lobbying arm, the SPLC Action Fund.

Tafeni English-Relf is the director of the Civil Rights Memorial Center and the Alabama State Office.

Jerrick Lewis is the executive director of the John R. Lewis Legacy Institute and a native of Troy, Alabama.

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More speaker announcements to follow.

WHO: The Civil Rights Memorial Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center

WHAT: Jubilee Wreath-Laying Ceremony honoring the late Rep. John Lewis and the 40 martyrs featured at the Civil Rights Memorial Center

WHEN: Friday, March 1, at 1 p.m. CT

WHERE: The Civil Rights Memorial Center, 400 Washington Ave. in downtown Montgomery

About the Southern Poverty Law Center: The Southern Poverty Law Center is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. For more information, visit

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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