COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — Dr. James D. Ward, professor of political science at Mississippi University for Women, recently presented the Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action Exemplary Practice award to United States Congressman John Lewis in Washington, D.C.
The American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) gives this award to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to a more equal society.
Ward, who served as chair of the selection committee, said, “Congressman Lewis, along with his compassion, sacrifice and commitment to social justice, epitomizes the standards upon which the award was established.”
Lewis was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1987 and is a civil rights icon who joined the civil rights movement as a college student and spent a considerable amount of time in Mississippi during 1964’s Freedom Summer. He worked to register blacks to vote in conjunction with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.
In 1963, at the age of 23, he was the youngest keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington. During the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights in 1965, Lewis suffered from a fractured skull when he and other non-violent demonstrators were attacked by Alabama police officers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, an event also referred to as Bloody Sunday.
Ward has served on the ASPA National Council since 2011 and has been responsible for assisting in the governance of the organization by participating in policy decisions at annual meetings and leadership retreats.
The event was sponsored by the Conference of Minority Public Administrators, which is one of the 28 sections of ASPA that recruits minorities for leadership positions at all levels of government.
ASPA was established in 1939 and is the nation’s premier public service organization with a membership consisting of practitioners from all levels of government, those from the non-profit sector and scholars.