John Robert Lewis, the son of sharecroppers who endured a violent police attack during a historic march in Selma, Alabama in 1965, to become a leading figure in the civil rights movement and a long-time US congressman, passed away after a six-month cancer battle. He was in his 80s.
Lewis died on the same day as Rev. Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, the 95-year-old civil rights activist. The civil rights icons’ dual deaths come as the country is still grappling with racial unrest in the aftermath of George Floyd ‘s death and ensuing Black Lives Matter demonstrations that have rocked the country. It’s another heartbreak in a year that ‘s packed with them, as America mourns the deaths of nearly 140,000 Covid-19 Americans and continues to contain the virus. In a statement House spokesman Nancy Pelosi announced his death.
Lewis had vowed to battle the disease after revealing that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in late December 2019, which was identified as a result of routine medical examinations and subsequent tests.
John Robert Lewis Served as the US Representative
Lewis, a Democrat serves for more than three decades as the US representative for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, widely viewing as Congress’ moral conscience because of his decades-long embodiment of non-violent civil rights struggle. His fiery oratory back by a long history of action which includes more than 40 arrests by his count while protesting against racial and social inequality. A Martin Luther King Jr. adherent and friend, he engages in lunch counter sit-ins, joining the Freedom Riders in opposing segregate buses and — at age 23 — was a keynote speaker at Washington ‘s landmark March of 1963.
Lewis state his activism motivate by King. Angered by Jim Crow South’s unfairness, he unleashed what he called “strong trouble” with coordinated demonstrations and sit-ins. He was a Freedom Rider in the early 1960s, challenging segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South and throughout the nation’s capital.
At age 25, Lewis helped lead a vote-rights march on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. It is where he and other marchers confront by heavily arm state. Also, local police who assaulted them with clubs, fracturing Lewis’ skull. Photos from that “Bloody Sunday” shook the country and galvanized support for the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law.
John Robert Lewis Focuses on Reducing Poverty
Lewis never lost his political spirit in spite of the attack and other beatings, taking it from demonstrations to politics. In 1981, he elects to the Atlanta City Council, and six years later to Congress. While in Congress, he focused on reducing poverty and supporting younger people through improved education and health care. He also co-wrote a series of Civil Rights movement graphic novels that won him a National Book Award.
Lewis was born on a Troy, Alabama, on 21 February 1940 on a cotton farm in a segregated America. He lived to see an elected president of African America. It is a moment he states he never thinks it will come despite his decades of struggle for equality. He described participating in the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama as an “out-of-body” experience.
In 2011, Lewis received the highest civilian award of the nation. Also, the Presidential Medal of Freedom put round his neck by America’s first black president. It is after more than 50 years at the front lines of the civil rights movement. Before Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, Lewis states he is unavailable to him to be a “legitimate” president. It is an unprecedented rebuke for a new president by a sitting member of Congress.
Trump Fires on John Robert Lewis
Trump fired back, calling Lewis “all talk” and “no action”.
Also, saying that instead of “complaining” about Russia. He should focus more on “fixing and helping” his district. Lewis had missed the inauguration of Trump.
Lewis believed in amnesty too. He once described an incident when, as a young man, members of the Ku Klux Klan beat him bloody. It is after he tries to enter a “white waiting room.”
Lewis recalled after acknowledging his apologies and kissing father and wife, the three were weeping together.