The civil rights icon delivered an emotional speech about the reality and the lasting scars of racism in the 1960s.
U.S. Representative John Lewis took the stage during the 91st annual Academy Awards on Sunday, where he earned one of the biggest standing ovations of the night.
The 79-year-old Democratic representative from Georgia and civil rights icon was joined on stage at the Dolby Theatre by Amandla Stenberg as the pair presented the Best Picture-nominated film Green Book.
"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 of the period drama, which is set in the deep South in the 1960s and deals with the issue of troubled race relations at the time.
"Black men and women, our brothers and sisters, treated as second-class citizens. Threatened for raising their family or earning a living," he continued. "Beaten, and sometimes killed, for the crime of trying to live a life with dignity."
"The nation bears the scars of that time, as do I," added Lewis, who was famously beaten and bloodied by state troopers during the infamous "Bloody Sunday" protest on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965.
Shortly after Lewis and Stenberg presented the clip, Green Book ended up pulling off the night's biggest surprise upset when it beat out odds-on favorite Roma to take home the Oscar for Best Picture.
Lewis was one of a number of famous faces not usually affiliated with Hollywood who was tapped to present one of the night's Best Picture nominees. Tennis pro Serena Williams, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, Chef José Andrés and Daily Show host Trevor Noah, among others.
For more on this year's surprising, emotional and unexpected Oscars ceremony, check out the video below.