“Reimagine the Legacy: Honoring Congressman John Lewis,” an annual memorial initiative led by Central Atlanta Progress, returns July 17-30 with activities that encourage reflection, learning, celebration, and action in memory of the late civil rights leader.

The initiative culminates in a personal moment of reflection through the ringing of bells at 11 a.m. on July 30. Bells will ring throughout the Atlanta community and beyond for 80 seconds, honoring the Congressman’s 80 years of life.

Free handbells will be available for pick up July 17 – 29 at locations around Downtown, including 100 Peachtree, SPARK Innovation Lab, Woodruff Park Game Cart, and 191 Peachtree.

Programming will include:

July 21 at 12 P.M. | John Lewis Forever Stamp: First Day of Issue Dedication Ceremony 

July 29 at 4:30 P.M. | South-View Cemetery Civil Rights Era Guided Walking Tour 

July 30 at 11 A.M. | Bells Ring for John Lewis 

July 17 – 30 | Promised Land: Civil Rights Cemetery Tour (Self-Guided) 

Take action:

Register to vote in Georgia 

Read John Lewis’ final essay “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation”

WABE Remembers John Lewis 

Read “Carry On” by John Lewis

Read the graphic novel “Run” 

Learn about the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation 

Learn about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN) 

Points of interest:

John Lewis HERO Mural
Voted Best Mural in Atlanta by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this mural honors civil rights hero Congressman John Lewis and is part of The Loss Prevention’s HERO series. Their goal is to honor local heroes who have made a lasting contribution to Atlanta and to the betterment of society at large.

APEX Museum 
The APEX Museum is the oldest Black History Museum located in the city of Atlanta. It was founded in 1978 by veteran filmmaker Dan Moore Sr., who was inspired by the life of Dr. Benjamin Mays. The museum maintains a diverse and educating display by routinely changing its exhibits on a quarterly schedule and is the only museum in Atlanta solely dedicated to telling the rich and often untold story of people of the African Diaspora. The name APEX is an acronym for African American Panoramic Experience, and thus provides visitors with a complete view of African and African American history and culture.

National Center for Civil and Human Rights
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights pays homage to the American civil rights movement, and it brings current global human rights issues to the forefront. The center is a perfect starting point for exploring Atlanta’s history in civil and human rights. Congressman Lewis was a part of the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, and Freedom Summer. His support for voting rights in the March from Selma to Montgomery March 7, 1965, led to an attack by state troopers fracturing his skull. The attacks meant to stop Lewis in his tracks could not hold him down, creating a legacy of service to others in the name of equal rights. Learn more about Congressman John Lewis and other civil rights icons at The Center.

Auburn Avenue Research Library 
Anchoring the west end of the Sweet Auburn historic district, the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History (AARL) opened May 1994 in Atlanta. A special library of the Fulton County Library System (FCLS) formerly the Atlanta Fulton Public Library System (AFPLS), it is the first public library in the Southeast to offer specialized reference and archival collections dedicated to the study and research of African American culture and history and of other peoples of African descent.

The King Center 
Established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King, The King Center is the official, living memorial dedicated to the advancement of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., leader of America’s greatest nonviolent movement for justice, equality and peace. View unique exhibits illustrating Dr. King’s life and teachings, visit the King Center’s Library, Archives, his birth home, Dr. and Mrs. King’s final resting place, and other facilities.

Atlanta History Center
This 33-acre campus features award-winning exhibitions, historic houses, and gardens. Their “Black Atlanta” exhibition is on view now and features assets from the collections of Kenan Research Center. The photography in this display reflects the rich stories of Atlanta’s historically Black colleges and universities, the Civil Rights Movement, and those of African American educators, entertainers, and athletes.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.