He received a standing ovation when he walked onto the stage.
The civil rights icon introduced the clip from "Green Book," which was set in the South during the early 1960s and addresses relationships between black and white Americans at the time.
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“I can bear witness that the portrait of that time and place in our history is very real. It is seared in my memory,” Lewis said.
“Our nation bears the scars of that time, as do I,” said the human rights advocate who was beaten by troopers at the infamous Bloody Sunday march in Alabama.
It was during that pivotal decade when Lewis was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders and when he was the youngest speaker at the historic March on Washington.
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His co-presenter was Amandla Stenberg, who starred in the film "The Hate U Give." She noted, “As this film demonstrates, any journey that opens someone’s eyes and softens their heart is one that is worth taking.”
“Young or old, I encourage you to be an active participant in the journey,” Lewis said at the conclusion of their introduction of the Oscar nominee. “This is ‘Green Book.’”
The movie would go on to win the award for best picture at the end of the live show. Earlier in the evening, it had won the award for original screenplay.
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Also taking the world stage in Hollywood on Sunday night, Atlanta media mogul Tyler Perry presented the award for cinematography, which went to “Roma.” “The Walking Dead” and “Black Panther” star Danai Gurira co-presented the awards for sound editing and sound mixing, both of which went to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Brian Tyree Henry, from the TV series “Atlanta” and the movie "If Beale Street Could Talk," was co-presenter of the award for costume design, which went to “Black Panther.”