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Roy Lewis

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Information about Roy Lewis

Profile image of Roy Lewis

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Photojournalist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Greens
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New Orleans, Louisiana
Favorite Quote:
What's Going On?

Birthplace

Born:
7/24/1937
Birth Location:
Natchez, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Photojournalist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Greens
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New Orleans, Louisiana
Favorite Quote:
What's Going On?

Birthplace

Born:
7/24/1937
Birth Location:
Natchez
See how Roy Lewis is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Renowned photographer and activist Roy Lewis was born on July 24, 1937 in Natchez, Mississippi. He grew up on a plantation where his father worked as a sharecropper harvesting cotton. His mother died when he was five years and old and he and was raised by his maternal grandparents. Lewis earned his high school diploma in 1956 from Sadie V. Thompson High School where he was a member of the football team and choir.

Upon graduation, he joined relatives in Chicago and landed a job in the subscription department at Johnson Publishing. In 1960, he was drafted in the United States Army and spent time at bases in Kansas, San Antonio and Houston, Texas. While a soldier, he began to develop his talent as a photographer after purchasing his first camera for just twenty-five dollars. His career as a photographer began in 1964 when Jet Magazine published his photograph of musician Thelonius Monk. In 1968, Lewis left Johnson Publishing and joined the staff at Northeastern University, filming student activities. In 1970, Lewis videotaped an exclusive interview with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, which was featured in the film A Nation of Common Sense. In 1974, Lewis, now working as a full time freelance photographer, traveled to Zaire to film the Ali-Foreman fight. This historic video would later be featured in the Hollywood film When We Were Kings, a remake of the legendary championship fight. In 1975, Lewis began work on River Road on the Mississippi, a pictorial book focusing on the African American people, life and cultural along the Mississippi River.

In 1995, Lewis published The Million Man March, a book highlighting the events of that historic day. Lewis also contributed work to the widely acclaimed 1995 photo book project, Songs of My People.

Lewis has received numerous awards for his photojournalism including, the Maurice Sorrell Lifetime Achievement Award.

See how Roy Lewis is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Roy Lewis' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Roy Lewis lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Roy Lewis remembers his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Roy Lewis talks about his father, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Roy Lewis talks about his father, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Roy Lewis recalls his mother's death from tuberculosis
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Roy Lewis describes living with his maternal grandfather after his mother passed away
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Roy Lewis talks about the farm owned by his paternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Roy Lewis describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Roy Lewis remembers childhood holidays
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Roy Lewis lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Roy Lewis recalls his childhood neighborhood in Natchez, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Roy Lewis describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Roy Lewis talks about his experience at his childhood schools in Natchez, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Roy Lewis describes toys he made as child in Natchez, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Roy Lewis talks about visiting his father and siblings as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Roy Lewis recalls his junior high school experiences in Natchez, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Roy Lewis remembers his hobbies as a young teenager in Natchez, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Roy Lewis recalls his desire to move to Chicago, Illinois as a teenager in Natchez, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Roy Lewis remembers significant people from his junior high school years at Brumfield School in Natchez, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Roy Lewis describes the aftermath of his maternal grandparents' passing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Roy Lewis talks about his introduction to photography at Sadie V. Thompson High School in Natchez, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Roy Lewis recalls developing an aspiration to attend college after a school trip to Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Roy Lewis remembers his graduation from Sadie V. Thompson High School in Natchez, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Roy Lewis recalls obtaining a printing position at Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Roy Lewis remembers Natchez, Mississippi and the South Side of Chicago, Illinois in the 1950s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Roy Lewis describes how his interests in photography developed at Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Roy Lewis talks about how his interest in photography grew during his U.S. Army service
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Roy Lewis remembers understanding photography as medium to effect change
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Roy Lewis recalls his freelance photography work during the 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Roy Lewis describes his 1967 exhibit 'Black and Beautiful'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Roy Lewis talks about the collaborative culture among photographers at Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Roy Lewis recalls the reception of his 1967 exhibit 'Black and Beautiful'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Roy Lewis remembers his documentary photography of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Roy Lewis remembers his transition to documentary film
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Roy Lewis recalls his 1970 interview with Elijah Muhammad
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Roy Lewis recalls working at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois while developing his career in photography and film
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Roy Lewis talks about his photographic projects during the 1970s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Roy Lewis talks about filming the 1974 boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Forman in Kinshasa, Zaire
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Roy Lewis describes his photographic essay projects
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Roy Lewis talks about his photojournalistic project 'River Road'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Roy Lewis explains his photographic style and process
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Roy Lewis talks about 'Songs of My People: African Americans, A Self-Portrait'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Roy Lewis recalls photographing the 1995 Million Man March in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Roy Lewis remembers his favorite photographic work
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Roy Lewis reflects upon his life, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Roy Lewis gives advice to young people interested in photography
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Roy Lewis reflects upon his most significant influences
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Roy Lewis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Roy Lewis reflects upon his life, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Roy Lewis describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Roy Lewis reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Roy Lewis summarizes his life's work