Remembering the Honorable Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
Airs Monday, July 27, 202, at 12:00 p.m. The body of Congressman Lewis will lie in state in the US Capitol Rotunda on Monday, July 27, 2020. NPR will provide LIVE anchored broadcast coverage of Monday's Congressional Ceremony on Capitol Hill. (more)
Born on February 21, 1940 in Troy, Alabama, he was the third of ten children. His parents, Willie Mae (Carter) and Eddie Lewis were sharecroppers in Pike County, Alabama. He graduated from the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee and was ordained as a Baptist minister. While in Nashville he organized sit-in that resulted in the desegregation of lunch counters in downtown Nashville. He also organized bus boycotts and other nonviolent protest and became an ardent adherent to the principles of nonviolence as the key to civil rights protests. In 1961, he was one of the original 13 freedom riders, a group of seven whites and six black who set out to ride from Washington DC to New Orleans in integrated fashion. As he rose to the status of civil rights icon, he would become the chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1963 to 1966. Lewis would serve as one of the "Big Six" leaders who organized the 1963 March on Washington. He would continue in his efforts to end segregation, secure civil, and voting rights for Black Americans. In 1965 Lewis was a leader of the infamous March on Selma across the Edmund Pettus Bridge and was beaten severely along with numerous others including Hosea Williams, and Amelia Boynton, on what became known as Bloody Sunday. He went on to serve in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia's 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death in on July 17, 2020.