Wikimedia Commons | Lawrence Jackson

John Lewis, Civil Rights Legend And Congressman, Has Died At 80

The year 2020 will be part of civil rights history thanks to the massive Black Lives Matter protests that are still happening around the world as I write this, but the true impact of this year's battle is yet to be seen.

As though a torch has been passed, Congressman John Robert Lewis has passed away at the age of 80 after a six-month battle with cancer, CNN reported.

The civil rights icon had served as the representative for Georgia's 5th district for more than 30 years.

United States House of Representatives

His passing was announced publicly by his family with a statement:

"It is with inconsolable grief and enduring sadness that we announce the passing of U.S. Rep. John Lewis. He was honored and respected as the conscience of the US Congress and an icon of American history, but we knew him as a loving father and brother. He was a stalwart champion in the on-going struggle to demand respect for the dignity and worth of every human being. He dedicated his entire life to non-violent activism and was an outspoken advocate in the struggle for equal justice in America. He will be deeply missed."

Before running for congress, Lewis was a long-time fixture in the Civil Rights Movement.

Wikipedia | U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

In 1961, he became one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, who fought against segregation of busses. He was a keynote speaker at the historic 1963 March on Washington, and helped lead the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

There, he suffered a fractured skull at the hands of police, but survived and continued to fight for civil rights.

In 1981 he entered politics as a member of the Atlanta city council, before successfully running for Congress in 1987.

Wikipedia | Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

In 2011, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 2015, he joined then-President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, as well as former President and First Lady, George W. and Laura Bush, for the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march.

Sadly, in December 2019, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Wikimedia Commons | Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

His passing on July 17, 2020, occurred the same day as the death of another Civil Rights icon, Rev. Cordy Tindell "C.T." Vivian, at 95 of natural causes.

Like Lewis, Vivian was part of the Freedom Riders and worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the battle for civil rights. In 2013, he too was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

h/t: CNN

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