BREAKING: Civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis has died at the age of 80 pic.twitter.com/TONrkeBXBc
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 18, 2020
Representative John Lewis, known as a lion of the civil rights movement and more recently known as the conscience of Congress has passed away at the age of 80.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement on the passing of Rep John Lewis: “John Lewis was a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation.” pic.twitter.com/PzcNmlCpKS
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) July 18, 2020
Lewis’s announcement in late December 2019 that he had been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer — “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” he said — inspired tributes from both sides of the aisle, and an unstated accord that the likely passing of this Atlanta Democrat would represent the end of an era.
Lewis was the youngest and last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, a group led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that had the greatest impact on the Civil Rights Movement. He was best known for leading some 600 protesters in the Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation.
It would be fitting to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge after John Lewis the conscience of Congress. He once told me how the Kennedy brothers did not agree to the Oval Office meeting with Dr. King before the ‘63 March until afterward because they feared it would be violent.
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) July 18, 2020
At age 25 — walking at the head of the march with his hands tucked in the pockets of his tan overcoat — Lewis was knocked to the ground and beaten by police. His skull was fractured, and nationally televised images of the brutality forced the country’s attention on racial oppression in the South.
John Lewis was an icon who fought with every ounce of his being to advance the cause of civil rights for all Americans. I’m devastated for his family, friends, staff—and all those whose lives he touched.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 18, 2020
Within days, King led more marches in the state, and President Lyndon Johnson soon was pressing Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. The bill became law later that year, removing barriers that had barred Blacks from voting.
Lewis joined King and four other civil rights leaders in organizing the 1963 March on Washington. He spoke to the vast crowd just before King delivered his epochal “I Have a Dream” speech.
Lewis’ wife of four decades, Lillian Miles, died in 2012. They had one son, John Miles Lewis.
John Lewis was a true American hero and the moral compass of our nation. May his courage and conviction live on in all of us as we continue to make good trouble for justice and opportunity.
Rest in power, John.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) July 18, 2020
“Generations from now, when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind” pic.twitter.com/UhuCaRK7FH
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) July 18, 2020
imagine living a life with even five percent of the bravery and grace that john lewis lived his
— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) July 18, 2020
Tonight is good a night as ever to check out @dawnporterm’s great documentary #GoodTrouble about the life of Rep. John Lewis which was recently released on Video On Demand and in theaters. Rest in power King ✊🏾🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/t55B5q6hKE
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) July 18, 2020
Heartbroken by the loss of two incredible leaders ❤️ Reverend C.T. Vivian and Congressman John Lewis both dedicated their lives to the fight for racial equity and for that we are forever, gratefully, indebted #RIP pic.twitter.com/cC9K1n8Guv
— Yara shahidi (@YaraShahidi) July 18, 2020
Rep. John Lewis in 2019: “When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation … to do something. Our children and their children will ask us, ‘what did you do?’ …. We have a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of history.” pic.twitter.com/MatBiBjsyu
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 18, 2020