Each year, the Faith and Politics Institute (FPI) gathers a bipartisan group of members of Congress and our community to experience the convergence of shared values and historical places. Since 1998 the FPI has led more than 300 members of the U.S. House and Senate with Congressman John Lewis as well as former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama through Alabama on this nearly annual pilgrimage. In Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma, these pilgrimages have retraced the footsteps of the leaders and foot soldiers of the civil rights movement that changed the course of American history.
During FPI's 2020 Pilgrimage to Alabama, members had the chance to learn more about Judge Frank M. Johnson, a Republican in the blue South, who played a pivotal role in shaping civil rights laws in the U.S. and enforcing them in Alabama. On June 18, 2020 Judge Myron Thompson shared his predecessor's impact on landmark civil rights cases from the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Selma to Montgomery March, to the trial of Viola Liuzzo's killers, and how decisions that impacted Thompson's life, as part of the FPI's Virtual Pilgrimage series.
True Meaning to the Word Justice, with Judge Thompson, was recorded June 18, 2020. The FPI welcomed Judge Myron Thompson as the featured speaker, and guest moderator Fred Smith Jr. who is an associate professor at Emory University School of Law, for a live discussion on the impact of landmark civil and human rights decisions since 1955 from the U.S. Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Judge Thompson and Mr. Smith also discussed several landmark decisions issued by Judge Thompson from the same historic courtroom (Courtroom 2FMJ, dubbed America's Courtroom) where Judge Johnson presided. Fred Smith Jr. clerked for Judge Thompson and Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the United States Supreme Court.