Congresswoman Lee Remembers the Life and Legacy of Former Congressman William Donlon ‘Don’ Edwards

Oakland, CA - Congresswoman Lee released this statement upon the passing of former Congressman William Edwards:

I am deeply saddened by the passing of my friend, former Congressman William Donlon ‘Don’ Edwards, a true leader who served our country for thirty-two years in Congress. 

Congressman Edwards was a champion for civil rights.  Elected in 1962, he served as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights for 23 years and served on the Judiciary Committee.  He joined the Freedom Riders movement in the 1960’s and strongly opposed the Vietnam War. 

As a staff member for former Congressman Ron Dellums, I worked with Congressman Edwards on the Wilmington 10 case. I later travelled with Congressman Edwards to Burgaw, North Carolina where I served as a character witness for Reverend Benjamin Chavis, one of ten young people accused of firebombing a white-owned grocery store. 

Congressman Edwards was a tireless advocate for justice and equality. He will be deeply missed but his legacy and commitment to peace and civil rights will live on.

My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.


Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.