Congressman John Lewis speaks at Elms College Commencement

Congressman John Lewis spreads a message of hope

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – Saturday morning is an important day for seniors at Elms College. They’ll be graduating at the MassMutual Center.

Saturday’s graduates get to hear from Congressman John Lewis, who is best known for his role in the civil rights movement, but he also has ties to Elms College.

Elms College was founded by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Springfield.

Back in 1965, Lewis was one of 600 protesters brutally attacked by state troopers when crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, protesting for the rights to vote. That day is now known as Bloody Sunday.

Badly beaten, Lewis went to the only hospital that allowed blacks, and was taken care of by Nuns from the sisters of Saint Joseph of Rochester.

Saturday, Lewis will talk to the Class of 2015 at Elms College. He told 22News he has an important message to share.

“A message of hope. That they should not get lost in a sea of despair. They should keep the faith and keep working and be hopeful and optimistic, and never become bitter,” Lewis told 22News.

The Elms College graduation ceremony takes place at 10:00 Saturday morning.

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