Georgia congressman, civil rights icon, John Lewis, dead at 80


Georgia congressman and civil rights icon, John Lewis, has died. He was 80.

His family released a statement early Saturday morning, saying:

“It is with inconsolable grief and enduring sadness that we announce the passing of U.S. Rep. John Lewis. He was honored and respected as the conscience of the US Congress and an icon of American history, but we knew him as a loving father and brother. He was a stalwart champion in the on-going struggle to demand respect for the dignity and worth of every human being. He dedicated his entire life to non-violent activism and was an outspoken advocate in the struggle for equal justice in America. He will be deeply missed.”

Since December 2019, Lewis had been battling Stage IV pancreatic cancer. Lewis said he learned about his cancer during a routine medical visit earlier that month.

In a statement about his diagnosis, Lewis vowed to continue serving the 5th Congressional District during his treatment.

“I have been in some kind of fight- for freedom, equality, basic human rights – for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” Lewis said. “I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross.”

From the halls of Congress to the streets of Atlanta, Lewis made his name known during the civil rights movement as he stood with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in their fight for justice in the face of segregation.

Lewis has represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District since 1987.

Lewis was born the son of sharecroppers on Feb. 21, 1940. He and his siblings grew up working on the family’s farm in Troy, Alabama.

Troy, like many other cities in the United States at the time, was divided by race.

“I would come home, ask my mother, ask my father, my grandparents, ‘Why?’ And they would say, ‘That’s the way it is. Don’t get in the way. Don’t get into trouble,’” Lewis said.

That division grew deeper in 1955 as the Montgomery bus boycott began.

Lewis became inspired by the movement and the man who emerged as its non-violent leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“He lifted me; he inspired me,” Lewis said about King. “I wrote a letter to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He wrote me back.”

King sent Lewis a round-trip bus ticket to meet him in Montgomery.

“I saw Dr. King and Rev. Ralph Abernathy standing behind a desk in a little office, and Dr. King said, ‘Are you the boy from Troy? Are you John Lewis?’ I was so scared,” Lewis said. “And he started calling me the boy from Troy. And during that time, we became like brothers.”

They became brothers in a movement that was gaining momentum and would forever change the nation.

From the Freedom Riders who integrated bus terminals in the South to the segregated lunch counters in restaurants and stores, Lewis was part of a progressive movement that challenged the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the south.


No comments

Kanye West Cuts Off Kim Kardashian

Kanye West reportedly cut off his soon-to-be ex-wife by changing his phone numbers amid their divorce. There have been plenty of reports breaking over the ...