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ATLANTA – A tweet from Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) marking the 53rd anniversary of being released from prison has gone viral.

Lewis, 74, was a member of the Freedom Riders in the 1960s. The group traveled across the South challenging segregation laws after the Supreme Court ruled in Boynton V. Virginia (1960) that segregated busing was unconstitutional.

At 6:39 a.m. on Monday, Lewis tweeted, "53 yrs ago today I was released from Parchman Penitentiary after being arrested in Jackson for using "white" restroom".

His post was retweeted more than 19,000 times by 4:30 p.m., with many of messages of support. Some of those included:

Lewis said that he served about month in jail after the arrest.

A post of the picture on Facebookalso garnered more than 14,700 likes by 5 p.m.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Right Act.


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