Congressman, Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Dead at 80

Lawrence Jackson / Public domain

Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), a civil rights icon, died at the age of 80 on Friday.

Lewis was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – which has a low survival rate – last year. He said he “never faced a fight quite like this one” when explaining his battle against the disease.

Before becoming a 17-term congressman in 1987, Lewis – the son of Alabama sharecroppers—was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. to join the fight against segregation and discrimination in the South.

Lewis, who was an original Freedom Rider and an organizer for the March on Washington in 1963, was arrested several times while non-violently protesting racial discrimination. In 1965, Lewis had his skull fractured by Alabama State Troopers while marching with 600 protestors in Selma, Alabama in what became known as “Bloody Sunday”, a turning point in the civil rights movement.

Politico details the event:

On this day in 1965, known in history as “Bloody Sunday,” some 600 people began a 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama, to the state Capitol in Montgomery. They were commemorating the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson, who had been shot on Feb. 18 by a state trooper while trying to protect his mother during a civil rights demonstration.

After the marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Selma’s outskirts, white state troopers assaulted them, knocking many to the ground and beating them with nightsticks. Another detachment of troopers fired tear gas while mounted troopers charged the marchers. In all, 17 marchers were hospitalized and 50 treated for lesser injuries.

From 1966 to 1977, Lewis worked as a community organizer in New York City and Atlanta mobilizing minority voters. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1977 before becoming an Atlanta City Councilmember in 1981.

In 1986, Lewis ran for and won a seat in Congress.

During his long tenure on Capitol Hill, Lewis was a leader on civil rights and a strong voice against sending US troops to war. He was one of the few members of Congress to oppose the 2003 US Invasion of Iraq. In 2002, he said it “will not bring peace to the Middle East. It will not make the world a safer, or better, or more loving place,” which unfortunately rang on deaf ears.

President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Lewis in 2010. When President Obama was inaugurated a year earlier, Lewis was the only living speaker from the March on Washington on stage. Obama signed a photograph for Lewis with the words, “Because of you, John.”

Lewis was predeceased by his wife Lillian Miles (m. 1968) in 2012. He is survived by one son, John-Miles.

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  1. Please be careful about your tweets.
    What about a national health policy? Mask or freedom to not mask?
    I am 74 and the younger adults do not fear covid and do not wear masks which could keep me from getting the virus. Georgia governor law which said local mayors could not require masks is wrong. The mayors should know what works for their towns unless the mask is not needed in low case areas.
    Put the police issue on the ballot to get national support. Should the federal government step in if states allow tyranny/anarchy? Might be a question. I think many wanted help and none was given in Democratic states. Federal government is supposed to protect the nation so why not this type of unlawful behavior. All lives matter most people of any descent should support.

    1. Wear your own mask if it makes you feel better, stay out of large crowds and away from sick people. Most things can be delivered right to your front door now.
      When the real numbers come out, you’ll find that a bigger threat to people like us is the seasonal flu.
      Truthfully, a mask is no more effective at stopping a nano-size virus than a chain link fence is at stopping a BB.
      Its tough, the wuhan red death has been so politicized and weaponized its hard to know what to believe any more.

      1. That’s how I see it,,,too-each-it’s-own,,,,but I do believe when this virus first came about,,,yes it was very serious and scary,,,but only because we had no clue of what we were dealing with,,,, but now with this so called second wave is,,,I do not believe any of it…To many incidences do not add up….Which now we r starting to hear about…To me it’s nothing but hogwash….

    2. Who are you to tell me to wear a mask. I am high risk fat and diabetic. However, it is my, again my responsibility to keep myself safe. In the history of this world we have never quarantined healthy folks.

      1. Easy there fella, can’t read? I said “IF” it makes you feel better.
        I do not wear a mask because it DOES NOT make me feel better.
        But I DO stay out of crowds and away from sick people.
        Just a smidgen of common sense goes a long way.

  2. Icon?
    Only if you mean another America-hating, racist, race-baiting, crooked, lying, evil marxist dimoKKKrat.
    The man had good intentions and a righteous cause right up until he pledged his fealty and loyalty to the very same people (dimoKKKrats) he was fighting AGAINST for equality and civil rights, instead of aligning himself with the people who were helping fight FOR equality and civil rights. John Lewis sold his soul to Satan. The evil dimoKKKrats neutered John Lewis and turned him into another useful tool. That’s his real legacy.

    Now, lets all memorialize this racist dimoKKKrat apparatchik like he was sent from God to save us all.

  3. I refuse to be a hypocrite about John Lewis as is being done all over TV on every channel today! My Dad told me, when I was a child, if you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything but, I have never quite accomplished that admirable trait! Let’s just say John Lewis may have been a Christian however, he had a difficult time dealing with “his flesh” and his dirty damn-o-crat-rat politics won over his Christianity the majority of the time! I must stop typing now since there is another old saying……don’t speak ill of the dead……………..


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