Jonathan A. Mason, Sr., International President and Micheal Cristal, International First Vice President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., will join a large, bipartisan congressional delegation for a three-day civil rights pilgrimage to Alabama. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who has led the pilgrimage every year since 1998, will lead the march as it passes through Birmingham, Selma, Montgomery and Marion. On Saturday, March 7, 2015, Mason will be a part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery marches. In attendance will be President Barack Obama, Former President George W. Bush, Congressman John Lewis, and 95 members of Congress, community and faith leaders and ordinary citizens to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march in Selma for voting rights.
As part of Phi Beta Sigma’s participation and to honor their fraternity brother Congressman John Lewis, the fraternity has announced the support for the John Lewis Documentary project which is directed by Stanley Nelson, who is among the nation’s foremost documentary filmmakers. Nelson is a multiple-prime-time Emmy winner, and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow. Nelson’s titles include the celebrated, Freedom Summer, Black Panthers, Freedom Riders, Jesse Owens, The Murder of Emmett Till, and Sweet Honey in the Rock: Raise Your Voice, and Beyond Brown and a host of other titles he directed for PBS as well as work for CNN and HBO.
“We must always remember the magnitude of John Lewis’ contribution to this country. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity is proud to support the John Lewis Documentary Project. This project is a wonderful way to honor his legacy and the sacrifices he made,” said Jonathan A. Mason, Sr. “The Selma marches are seen as pivotal to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which paved the way for the election of thousands of elected officials of color, but also the presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama,” Mason added.
John Lewis played a pivotal role in Selma. He was beaten and terrorized by the police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on “Bloody Sunday.” It is to appreciate those individuals, many of whom remain nameless and faceless, who sacrificed their careers, freedom, bodies, and indeed their lives, so that African Americans could cast their ballots free from discrimination or exclusionary measures that this march is being celebrated. The march commemorates Selma to celebrate the work of these activists and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
As one of the sponsors of the documentary, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. will receive prominent film credit and other high-profile involvement in the film’s premiere. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity’s involvement in the film project on Congressman Lewis’ life is a continuation of the civil rights activities the 101 years old community service organization has been championing since its founding. Future generations of the organization’s members will be enriched by Congressman Lewis’ leadership and legacy. Looking forward “Sigmas” can be proud of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. involvement in this historic documentary at this time in the United States history.
This documentary project will trace John Lewis’ life – from his boyhood in the Jim Crow South, to the front lines of the Civil Rights movement, to his work in Congress and leadership on international human rights and nonviolence issues. The life of John Lewis is a testament to virtue, humility, hard work, courage, faith, commitment and strength. His motivating personal journey reassures each of us that we can make a difference.