An icon of the Civil Rights Movement lost his battle with pancreatic cancer last night. Tributes to Congressman John Lewis have been pouring in.
He has often been dubbed “one of the most courageous people the movement has ever produced. He dedicated his life to protecting human rights for all.
He was 80 years old.
“He was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama. He grew up on his family’s farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama. As a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts. In those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement. Ever since then, he has remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States.
Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. After leaving SNCC in 1966, he continued his commitment to the Civil Rights Movement as Associate Director of the Field Foundation and his participation in the Southern Regional Council’s voter registration programs. Lewis went on to become the Director of the Voter Education Project (VEP). Under his leadership, the VEP transformed the nation’s political climate by adding nearly four million minorities to the voter rolls.”
Among his many honors was the Congressional Medal of Honor bestowed upon him by former President Barack Obama:
When Obama awarded John Lewis a Medal of Freedom in 2011, the president said that “Generations from now, when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind.” https://t.co/x6VYpawf36 pic.twitter.com/Et2TDGKRbd
— POLITICO (@politico) July 18, 2020
“The movement lost an icon,” Clyburn said. “And I lost a personal friend. But I do believe that as the sun set on John Lewis’s life last night, the sun rises on a movement that will never die.”
A beautiful tribute to Congresman John Lewis by longtime colleague and friend, Congressman James Clyburn:" We are going…
Former President Obama tweeted a heartfelt tribute that reads in part:
He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise. And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.
Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did:https://t.co/KbVfYt5CeQ
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 18, 2020