Lewis recalled the day 41 years ago when he received an unusual call from his editor to return to the office after an evening assignment. Normally, Lewis would end his day without going back to The Post in such cases; during his 2½-hour drive back he assumed he was in some sort of trouble. He had been photographing the chicken king, Frank Perdue, at his chicken plant in Salisbury, Md., and entered the office with stray chicken feathers on his clothes.
In an interview with Post features photo editor Nicole Crowder, Lewis remembered: “I make my way to the fifth floor, and the newsroom is full. I see [editors] Ben Bradlee and Shelby Coffey III. I walk toward them, and Bradlee starts to smile, and he grabs me by the shoulder, shouting: ‘You did it! You just won the Pulitzer!'”
Lewis was a teacher and freelancer photographer before joining The Post’s staff in 1965. He became the paper’s first African American assistant managing editor, serving in the position for 11 years and hiring 12 photographers, several of whom went on to win their own Pulitzers. Here is some of his work.