About Don Edwards

Don Edwards

Former Congressman Don Edwards


The Edwards Lecture in Politics and History honors Congressman Don Edwards who represented San José for 32 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Edwards earned the title "the conscience of Congress" for his steadfast support of civil rights and his advocacy of all the disadvantaged. Columnist Nat Hentoff frequently referred to Edwards as "the Congressman from the Constitution" because he regarded the Bill of Rights as his constituency. In 2002, he received the American Bar Association's Thurgood Marshall Award for his "unswerving devotion to the constitution and its values." In 2003, the House of Representatives honored Edwards with one of the first Congressional Distinguished Service Awards, noting the civility of his work and his refusal to pursue "political ambition at the expense of common decency" or to "sacrifice his soul at the alter of political expediency."