Rep. John Lewis was inspired by and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When Lewis, head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, helped lead a group of civil rights marchers across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Ala., on March 7, 1965 — the day that became known as Bloody Sunday — Lewis was beaten so badly that his skull was fractured.
He recovered, continued his work for civil rights and was elected U.S. representative of Georgia’s 5th Congressional District in 1986, a position he still holds. In November, his graphic novel “March: Book Three,” the third volume in a series based on his experiences as a young man, won the National Book Award for young people’s literature.
Lewis attracted the Twitter wrath of President-elect Donald Trump on Friday, when the congressman criticized Trump on “Meet the Press,” saying, “I don’t see the president-elect as a legitimate president. ... I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected.”
Trump hit back the next day with a series of three posts on his Twitter feed, writing, “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!”
Subsequently, sales of Lewis’ books soared. As of Monday morning, four of Lewis’ books were among Amazon’s Top 20 bestsellers, with a box set of his National Book Award-winning graphic memoir trilogy “March” at No. 1 and his autobiography “Walking With the Wind” at No. 2.
Entertainment Weekly reports that “March” rose in the rankings from No. 451 to No. 1 following Trump’s comments, and “Walking With the Wind” climbed from No. 8,701 to No. 2.
Lewis, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, has represented his Georgia district, which includes most of Atlanta, for 30 years.
The website Politifact said that Trump’s depiction of the district is “mostly false.”
Both the “March” box set and “Walking With the Wind” are sold out on Amazon. The retailer also lists another book by Lewis, “Across That Bridge,” as out of stock. It’s No. 116 on Amazon.
On Monday, Trump had been expected to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., which features Lewis in some of its exhibits, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but canceled those plans over the weekend, citing a scheduling conflict.
The museum, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution, was opened last September. Lewis co-sponsored the legislation to establish the museum and gave a speech at its opening ceremony, saying, “As these doors open, it is my hope that each and every person who visits this beautiful museum will walk away deeply inspired, filled with a greater respect for the dignity and the worth of every human being and a stronger commitment to the ideals of justice, equality and true democracy.”
Trump is expected to meet with Martin Luther King III, King’s eldest son, on Monday. Lewis marked the holiday with a series of tweets honoring his friend King, writing, “Dr. King taught us to recognize the dignity and worth of every human being. He was the moral compass of our nation.”