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Rep. John Lewis Commemorates the Passing of Two Great Journalists

March 31, 2017
Press Release

“Journalism is such a powerful force in American society.  Freedom of speech and of the press is the cornerstone of our democracy.  Walter Cronkite once said that, 'A free press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.'

Bill Minor, a Mississippi journalist who wrote for the New Orleans Times-Picayune was a brave and courageous journalist.  He was a crusader on the frontlines of reporting at the height of the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century.  It was very, very dangerous for him to use his pad and pen to report objectively on the events he witnessed in Mississippi.  He was threatened, but he did not stop speaking truth to power.  We are forever in the debt of journalists like Bill Minor, who placed their lives in their hands to tell the stories now so familiar but then unheard of.  It was journalists who got the word out.  They helped to demonstrate the injustices people of color were facing, and their news helped create a crisis of conscience that changed America forever.  Bill Minor was one of the great Southern journalists, and he will be deeply missed.

Steen Miles was a dear friend of my late wife Lillian.  She was a determined journalist, curious and unrelenting.  She reported for the Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA for many years and won 3 Emmy awards for work.  Her commitment to public service led her to work as the primary spokesperson for MARTA for many years and ultimately to run for public office.  She was elected a state senator from Georgia’s 43rd District in 2005, and during her tenure, she wrote or co-sponsored more than 70 pieces of legislation.  The Atlanta community will deeply miss Steen Miles--a dedicated and involved citizen, outspoken truth teller, and innovative public servant.”