JOHN LEWIS LIES IN STATE: Beloved Civil Rights Leader, Longtime Congressman’s Casket Arrives At Capitol Building

The casket carrying the body of the iconic civil rights legend and Georgia Congressman John Lewis arrived at the nation’s capitol today so that the man who took a brutal beating by law enforcement on an Alabama bridge in 1965 to advance civil rights could be honored.

Rep. John Lewis passed away July 17 after a battle with cancer that claimed the life of one of the nation’s most celebrated heroes. He was 80 years old.

Crowds solemnly lined Washington streets to watch Lewis’ hearse pass by en route to the Capitol Building where Lewis’ remains will lie in state.

John Lewis helped lead the fight for voting rights for Black Americans during a very tumultuous era as a young college student activist from Alabama who organized, marched, and protested for equality. Later, he would end up serving more than 30 years in Congress from the state of Georgia.

But before he entered the halls of Congress, he was imprisoned and beaten for standing up for equality, most famously on the Edmund Pettis Bridge, which is named after a slavery era figure. State patrol officers attacked and violently assaulted unarmed peaceful protesters along the bridge as they tried to flee the onslaught. John Lewis suffered a cracked skull in the midst of the carnage.

That bridge is now set to be renamed in Lewis’ honor.

Lewis’ life’s work was certainly admirable and definitely plentiful, but the congressman–who was recognized for his contribution to civil rights, voting rights, LGBTQ rights and human rights around the world–said one of his proudest moments ever was watching as Barack Obama was sworn in as the nation’s first Black President.

Obama would later bestow the Presidential Medal Of Freedom on Lewis, a testament to not only Lewis’ sacrifice that helped lead to the election of a Black President, but also to how one generation can be a vital bridge to another.

Congressman Lewis was predeceased by his wife of 44 years, Lillian, in 2012.

R.I.P. Mr. John Lewis.

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