Following the death of Rep. John R. Lewis (GA-5), his colleague of 18 years in Congress, Wayne T. Gilchrest of Maryland’s 1st District, shared with the Kent Pilot memories of his relationship and work with the storied Civil Rights leader on the environment and worker rights.

When Gilchrest arrived in Washington in 1991, Lewis had been elected four years earlier.

“I knew of John Lewis the way you would know about Frederick Douglas,” he said in an interview with the Kent Pilot on Tuesday. 

The two men share the distinction of receiving the Edward F. Snyder Award for National Legislative Leadership in Advancing Disarmament and Building Peace from the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

Lewis received the award in 2007 for his commitment to non-violent resistance, both in his work with the civil rights movement and his opposition to the Iraq war.

Gilchrest received the award for promoting policy language that would prohibit the United States from establishing a permanent presence in Iraq and gaining control of Iraq’s oil reserves.

In the 10 minute video, Gilchrest describes a man he said had the gift of instilling confidence in everyone and who fought fiercely for the rights of minorities and the poor.