John Lewis Biography

Died: February 22, 2008 (Manhattan, New York)
Best Known as: a philanthropist and lawyer

John Lewis was a lawyer who devoted his life to helping prisoners and clients who coul not pay him, and fighting for the rights of American Indians and the Yanomami people of Brazil. He was born in Manhattan, his father a leader of Bears, Stearns on Wall Street and a prominent philanthropist. John attended Harvard University and Columbia Law School. He purposefully left his privileged way of life giving away his money to clients in need and different causes throughout his life. Lewis worked at the Legal Aid Society, as a legal secretary for Judge Elliot Wilk, and then opened a private practice so he could take on clients who could not afford to pay him. He also worked at the United Nations fighting for the rights of the Yanomami people in Brazil. One of his major concerns was rights of American Indians. Lewis donated more than $1 million to the Indian Law Resource Center.