Lewis graduated from the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee and was ordained as a Baptist minister. He then received a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy from Fisk University. As a student, he was dedicated to the civil rights movement. He organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Nashville and took part in many other civil rights activities as part of the Nashville Student Movement. The Nashville sit-in movement was responsible for the desegregation of lunch counters in downtown Nashville.
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