Video: Civil Rights Icon Visits Camden to Preserve MLK Piece of History


CAMDEN, N.J. – Civil rights icon and congressman, John Lewis, addressed the city of Camden when he visited on Monday to help bring awareness to a historic property in South Jersey.
Congressman Lewis of Georgia shared with the public about the time he spent fighting for civil rights next to Martin Luther King Jr., and why a historic row home is a significant piece of American history that needs to be protected.
“This piece of historic real estate, it must be saved for generations yet unborn. Because Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t just change America, he had changed the world," said Lewis.
Lewis was inspired by civil right leaders before him, which helped start his friendship with King. And according to Lewis, they had been such good friends that he viewed King almost like a big brother.
“The action of Rosa Parks, the action and leadership of Dr. King, inspired me to find a way to get in the way. I got in trouble. I got in what I called “good trouble,” necessary trouble," said Lewis.
Congressman Lewis says that Camden is getting into the good kind of trouble, as local leaders, politicians, and historians are calling for the historic preservation of the Walnut Street home, where Dr. King stayed during his time at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.
“We heighten the awareness of what is transpiring in our neighborhood here. The beginnings of Dr. Martin Luther King in his early years, and what helped shape him,” said New Jersey Congressman Donald Norcross.
Norcross welcomed his fellow congressional representative to Camden today for discussions on gun violence and designating the historic property as a landmark.
“I will work with your mayor, with your congress person, to do everything possible. When I go back to Atlanta, I will have a discussion with Dr. King’s sister to see if she has some of the papers and letters that he sent from this address,” said Lewis.
Local historian, Patrick Duff also pointed out that one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s first historic sit-ins happened just 20 minutes away, in a Maple Shade restaurant, which is another tie to South Jersey.
“So you’re talking about people in history that have changed the world and have changed the city, who were directly involved with the first civil rights incident that Dr. King had ever been involved with,” said Duff.
Norcross says that if the state approves the property as a historic site, they plan to clean up the home and turn it into a museum and help give South Jersey a chance to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., right in their own backyard.