40-acre tribute to Rep. John Lewis debuts on Georgia Senate runoff day

The portrait is a take on the late congressman’s 1961 mugshot

5 things to know about the late Rep. John Lewis. John Lewis was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington in 1963 and the youngest member of the "Big Six" leaders of the civil rights movement. At 25, Lewis was attacked while helping lead marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Former President Barack Obama awarded Lewis with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, in 2010. Lewis has been handcuffed at least 45 times, according to a 2013 press release. He is the first Black lawmaker to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol rotunda, following his death in 2020

The results of the Georgia senate runoff continue to trickle in Wednesday.

Yet as Democrat Raphael Warnock marks a historic win over Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Jon Ossoff has declared victory with a slim but growing lead over U.S. Sen. David Perdue, an ode to another Georgia political figure exists about three hours south of Atlanta.

Emmy-nominated storytelling agency Human on Tuesday debuted a portrait of the late Rep. John Lewis on farmland in Fitzgerald, Georgia, which honors Lewis’ voting rights legacy, HuffPost reported.

Led by artist John Quigley and crafted by Nebraska-based farmer/tractor artist Art Tanderup, the crop art was meant to inspire turnout ahead of the state runoffs.

“[It was] such an honor to just work towards a tribute or an honoring of John Lewis, one of the truly great humans,” Quigley, who described Lewis as a “man of action,” told the publication.

For the portrait, which was mowed on farmland run by Dan Glenn, it was decided that it would depict Lewis’ famous 1961 mugshot. The image was taken after the 21-year-old was arrested for using a whites-only restroom. Instead of the place card in the original image, the sketch places a sign reading “VOTE” across Lewis’s chest.

The Milwaukee Community Journal reported that dozens of diverse communities in the Peach State collaborated on the project through varying weather conditions to craft the portrait, which is on a farm on the original Tribal Lands of the Muskogee Creek Nation.

Premiering in a video directed by Johnathan Olinger, it concludes with the hashtag #WithLove. That follows Lewis’ voiceover playing amid a b-roll of the sketch taking shape.

Muskogee Creek Nation Chief Marian McCormick told the MCJ she supports the message to “Vote With Love.”

“I know that the Native American were truly helped by him,” she said of Lewis. “Mother Earth does not know about the color of our skin.”