Emory University Launches Search to Fill John Lewis Chair

In this Dec. 22, 2014 image taken from video, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., discusses the historical drama "Selma" and civil rights in the United States during an interview in Atlanta. Forty-nine years after Lewis and other marchers tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., memories of "Bloody Sunday" are still vivid in his mind. It was one of the defining moments of the civil rights era. (AP Photo/Alex Sanz)

Officials at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta have launched a nationwide search for a scholar to fill its John Lewis Chair for Civil Rights and Social Justice.

The scholar “must be an established academic profile of distinction and a demonstrated desire to promote the rule of law through the study of civil rights,” Emory officials said.

“The new faculty member will focus on where racial discrimination persists despite legal advances made during the civil rights movement of the last century,” Emory law school Dean Robert Shapiro said in a statement. “Among other questions, the chair will examine issues surrounding the restriction of voting rights, racial dimensions of mass incarceration in the United States and the treatment of undocumented immigrants.”

The process of funding the chair began in 2015 when an anonymous donor contributed $1.5 million. Although the chair has been fully funded, an additional $500,000 has been raised.

Lewis, who has served his Atlanta district in Congress since 1987, was a keynote speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. A former chair of the now-defunct Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lewis was also beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on Bloody Sunday in March 1965.