Camden, New Jersey – (RealEstateRama) — Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01) today welcomed civil rights icon and U.S. Congressman John Lewis to Camden, New Jersey for important discussions on gun violence and designating a City property linked to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as an historic landmark.
The Congressmen first visited a property at 753 Walnut Street in Camden, which local historians identified as a former home to Dr. King while he studied at the former Crozer Theological Seminary in Upland, Pennsylvania in the 1950s.
“The history of the civil rights movement has roots right here in South Jersey. Dr. King’s revolutionary ideas on social justice and nonviolent activism remain both an inspiration and a challenge for our country today. This house stands as a link to Dr. King’s life and legacy, and preserving it will affirm his rightful place in Camden’s history, and our country’s history,” said Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01). Rep. Norcross has appealed to the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office to have the Walnut Street home designated as an historic site, an effort backed by Camden NAACP President Kelly Francis and local historian Patrick Duff, who both also took part in today’s event.
Rep. Lewis, who worked side-by-side with Dr. King during the civil rights movement of the 1960s and was a pivotal figure in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, echoed Rep. Norcross’ call to have the house preserved. “The work Dr. King started decades ago is still unfinished. This property, which stands now as a simple row home, can serve as a touchstone for generations to come as they learn about Dr. King and his deeds to make our country stronger and more inclusive,” said Rep. John Lewis (GA-05).
Separately, the Congressmen hosted dozens of South Jersey community and religious leaders for a gun violence prevention discussion at the Odessa Paulk-Jones Community Center in Camden. Reps. Lewis and Norcross have consistently demanded votes on common sense gun safety legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Notably, on June 23, 2016, when House Republican leadership recessed after refusing votes on legislation that would expand background checks on gun buyers, and a bill to deny firearms purchases to those on the country’s ‘No Fly’ list, Rep. Lewis led House Democrats in a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives. The action, reminiscent of Lewis’ sit-ins for civil rights during the 1960s, lasted 26 hours.
“We took a stand by sitting down. America saw what we did and they cheered us on and they continue to back us. We cannot give up this fight. We won’t back down,”said Rep. John Lewis (GA-05). At the time, Rep. Lewis said, “sitting there on the floor, I felt like I was reliving my life all over again. During the ’60s, the sit-ins started with three or four people, and they spread like wildfire. This will spread.”
“The House Republican leadership pulled the plug on the TV cameras and dimmed the lights that day, but we followed the light of John Lewis into the chamber. After the hate-filled, mass killings of dozens of innocent Americans in Orlando, San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, Aurora and countless other American communities, we are compelled to take action,” said Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01). “What we’re demanding is simple and common sense. If you’re on the nation’s ‘no fly’ list, you shouldn’t be allowed to purchase a firearm, and we must strengthen background checks to stop criminals from possessing deadly weapons. Yet, House Republicans have denied a vote on these measures dozens of times, despite strong support from the vast majority of Americans. So I will continue to stand, sit, and show a united front with Rep. Lewis for the safety and security of the American people.”
This evening, Rep. Norcross will be in attendance as Rep. Lewis is awarded the 2016 Liberty Medal during a ceremony at the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall in Philadelphia.