Joseph Lewis (June 11, 1889 – November 4, 1968) was an American freethinker and atheist activist, publisher, and litigator. During the mid-twentieth century, he was one of America’s most conspicuous public atheists. Born in Montgomery, Alabama to a Jewish family, he was forced by poverty to leave school at the age of nine to find employment. He read avidly, becoming self-educated.
Lewis developed his ideas from reading, among others, Robert G. Ingersoll, whose published works made him aware of Thomas Paine. He was first impressed by atheism after having read a large volume of lectures of Ingersoll devoted to his idol Paine, which was brought to their house by his older brother. He later credited Paine’s The Age of Reason with helping him abandon theism.