UNITED STATES−Congressman and Civil Rights leader, John Robert Lewis (D-GA-5th District) passed away on Friday, July 17 at the age of 80.

Rep. Lewis served in Congress for 17 terms in the House, beginning in 1987. Lewis chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) since the age of 23. He was one of, “The Big Six” who organized and participated in peaceful protests including the 1963 March on Washington. The other members of The Big Six were; Whitney Young, A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer, and Roy Wilkins. This is when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., gave his famous, “I had a dream” speech.

John Lewis 1963 Speech At Lincoln Memorial

“We are tired. We are tired of being beaten by policemen. We are tired of seeing our people locked up in jail over and over again. And then you holler, ‘Be patient’. How long can we be patient? We want our freedom and we want it now.” – John Robert Lewis, August 28, 1963

John Lewis Arrested In 1961

Lewis was instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement and played a major role in ending the legalized segregation in the United States.

Lewis, known best for his ability to protest peacefully, worked up to the time of his death. His most recent writings in, “Updates from Capitol Hill” may be found at,




Lewis joined Martin Luther King Jr. and the other Freedom Riders in the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL, which is now referred to as, “Bloody Sunday.” The Freedom Fighters were heading to the State Capitol in Montgomery, AL to take a stand for equal voting rights.  Lewis and the others marching were met by Police on horseback with billy clubs and tear gas. Lewis himself endured a fractured skull.

Lewis and the Freedom Fighters were present five days later at the White House when then-President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law.

Lewis was born in Troy, Alabama to Will Mae Carter and Eddie Lewis. He was one of 10 children. He attended a segregated school as a child and had a genuine love for reading. Lewis applied to Alabama’s Troy University but was denied due to the segregation laws.  Troy was an all-white school. Lewis attended the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, taking part in a work-study type program where students were able to work in lieu of paying tuition.

Lewis confirmed publicly in December of last year that he was suffering from pancreatic cancer and would be working through his treatment.

“I have been in some kind of fight−for freedom, equality, basic human rights-for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.” − John Lewis, December 29, 2019.

Lewis wrote the 1998 autobiography, “Walking with the Wind”: A memoir to the movement, co-written with Mike D’Orso. In 2002, “From Freedom Rider to Congressman,” and in 2012, “Across That Bridge,” written with Brenda Jones. In 2013, graphic novel and trilogy; ”March,” Book One, In 2014, Book Two in 2015, and Book Three in 2016, and the sequel to “March,” called, “Run,” in 2018 co-written with Andrew Aydin.