The Troy University Libraries
have received a $5,000 donation from
Constellation, an Exelon Company, in memory of civil rights icon and
Congressman John R. Lewis.
Lewis, who was born in Pike County and often referred to as
“The Boy from Troy” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., died on July 17 at age 80.
He served more than 30 years as the Representative of Georgia’s 5th Congressional District.
Constellation, an Exelon Company, is a leading competitive
energy company providing power, natural gas, renewable energy and energy
management products and services for homes and business across the continental
Company officials saw news coverage of a memorial service
held for Lewis in Trojan Arena on the Troy Campus and wanted to honor the late
Congressman’s legacy, according to Dr. Christopher Shaffer, the University’s
Dean of Library Services.
“They saw an article regarding the memorial service and knew
that libraries and education were important to Congressman Lewis,” Dr. Shaffer
said. “They wanted to pay tribute to his legacy in a meaningful way in his
Dr. Shaffer said the funds will help further the libraries’
programming related to civil rights and human rights.
In the recent past, Troy University Libraries have provided
programs on the Holocaust and African American studies, including presentations
chronicling the Western experiences of black cowboys by “Cowboy” Mike Searles
and events providing teachers with strategies for teaching about the Civil
Rights Movement in the classroom. In 2021, the library will become one of 50
U.S. libraries to host “Americans and the Holocaust,” a traveling exhibition
from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“We have a history of programming surrounding civil rights
and human rights, and this generous donation by Constellation, an Exelon
Company, will help us purchase books and resource materials, as well as
continue our educational programming,” he said. “This gift honors the legacy of
a great man — an icon of the Civil Rights Movement — and will pay great
dividends for our students, our University and the community at large.”
Lewis was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21,
1940, outside of Troy, Alabama. He grew up on his family’s farm and
attended segregated public schools in Pike County. As a young boy, he was
inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words
of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts. In
those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become a part of the Civil Rights
Movement and he became a vanguard of progressive social movements and the human
rights struggle in the United States.
In August, the Troy University Board of Trustees voted to
rename historic Bibb Graves Hall on the Troy Campus to John Robert Lewis Hall
to honor the memory of the late Congressman.
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