NEW ORLEANS— The New Orleans chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality(CORE) was very active in the civil rights movement. Among those on the front lines were people like Jerome Smith, and we spoke with him about the late Rep. John Lewis.
Smith said, “When the freedom rides came, that’s where I really met him. This is why I have this photo of he and Julia and Dave Dennis was there that morning and after they had those discussions he wanted to meet. If he heard you had a certain kind of determination, he wanted to have a conversation.”
Smith also recalled Lewis as a humble, religious man, “As it related to the issue around non-violence and he had a spirituality that was sincere in terms of that commitment.”
Over the years, they remained friends. Jerome Smith founded a youth organization in New Orleans, and even though John Lewis was serving in congress, he remained committed to young people and educating them about the movement.
“John would come down to Selma and do workshops and study groups with the children from Tambourine and kids from all over the country and he would take a group and go with him to the bridge and he would give them that history.”