Congressman John Lewis Passes Away
WASHINGTON (AP)-John Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, has died. He was 80.
A Democrat from Atlanta, he won his U.S. House seat in 1986.
Lewis was the last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
He was best known for leading 600 protesters in the 1965 Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
Lewis was knocked to the ground and beaten by state troopers. Televised images forced the country’s attention on racial oppression.
On the day that became known as Bloody Sunday, John Lewis and a line of nonviolent marchers were beaten and tear-gassed by Alabama state troopers in Selma.
The state-sanctioned violence at the Edmund Pettus Bridge stunned the nation and helped spur the passage of the federal Voting Rights Act. It also propelled Lewis on to a global stage as a hero of the U.S. civil rights movement.
He would go on to win election to the U.S. House, where he was widely acknowledged as the conscience of Congress.