Civil Rights Icon Congressman John Lewis Has Died

Friday, July 17th 2020, 10:48 pm
By: CBS News

Civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis has died. Lewis served 33 years in the US House or Representatives, played a critical role in the civil rights movement and helped change history.

Congress John Lewis dedicated his life to civil rights and nonviolent activism.

"I am for those in the shadow of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped."

Lewis was a trusted friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 met resistance in the south, Lewis and Hosea Williams lead hundreds of Black voters on a 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

The marchers got as far as the foot of the Edmund Pettus bridge before they were beaten with night sticks and met with tear gas. That day went down in history as Bloody Sunday.

Lewis was born near Troy, Alabama in 1940. At age 23, Lewis was the youngest speaker at the march on Washington where Dr. King delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech.

His passion for people and racial reconciliation brought him to Congress, winnind Georgia's 5th district congressional seat in 1986. He has received numerous awards through his life, including the presidential medal of freedom.

On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, Lewis asked Americans to step up.

"When you see something that is not right, something that is not fair, something that is not just, you have a moral obligation to say something, and do something," said Lewis.

That was a principle he lived by, earning his reputation as 'the conscience of the U.S. Congress.'