GREENSBORO, N.C., — Matthew Lewis has captured some of the nation’s most historic events and people behind the lens of a camera during his storied 25-year career at The Washington Post. On June 26, at 3 p.m. the International Civil Rights Center & Museum will honor the Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer during a special tribute and public reception. Lewis’ works — the people, places and iconic moments of the Civil Rights Movement — are currently on view in the Museum’s Changing Gallery as part of its inaugural exhibit.
“Matthew Lewis is a civil rights pioneer and people have a chance to witness, through the lens of his camera, some of the most extraordinary moments in civil rights history,” said Bamidele Demerson, executive director and curator for the International Civil Rights Center & Museum. “Lewis stood on the streets as D.C. exploded in flames during the civil unrest of the 1960s, covered the March on Washington, the Poor People’s March and countless other landmark events. His photography tells an emotional and evocative story.”
Lewis was The Washington Post’s first African-American photographer and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975. His iconic work also appears in the Museum’s permanent exhibition, “The Battlegrounds.” The Church and the Movement gallery features a stirring image of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., standing boldly behind a church pulpit. Lewis snapped the image a mere six weeks before Dr. King’s assassination in Memphis, Tenn.
“That image captures on film my personal feelings of Martin Luther King,” said Lewis. “And that’s my favorite. It will always be my favorite out of the thousands I’ve taken.”
Lewis lives in Thomasville, N.C., and retired from The Washington Post in 1990. He is a graduate of Morgan State College, now known as Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md., and freelanced for the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper and worked as a staff photographer for the Thomasville Times.
“You feel fortunate to have some important photographs not just of great people, but of the average person – the poor person,” said Lewis. “That’s what excites me more than anything.
The special tribute to Matthew Lewis is open to the public. Admission is $6 for adults, seniors and students. Children are $4. For more information, visit www.sitinmovement.org or contact the Museum at (336) 274-9199.
The Museum offers daily, self-guided tours through The Changing Gallery exhibition: The Civil Rights Movement Through the Lens of Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer Matthew Lewis. General admission fees apply.
RoKeya Worthy, Assistant Account Executive