The life of John Lewis

Rep. John Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement, is now fighting for his life. This is his story.

Civil rights leader

He was born in Alabama in 1940, the son of sharecroppers. He attended several segregated schools during the Jim Crow-era South. At 15, he was inspired by Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. and at 20, he joined the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. At 21, he joined the Freedom Rides of 1961, which led to the desegregation of public busses. At 23, he was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington. At 25, he helped lead the Selma to Montgomery march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Marching record

The marchers were attacked and beaten by Alabama state troopers on what came to be known as Bloody Sunday. At 37, he worked in the Carter administration in a department overseeing volunteer service. At 41, he was elected to the Atlanta City Council where he advocated for ethics in government and neighborhood preservation. At 47, he was elected to The House of Representatives representing Georgia's 5th district — where he’s been re-elected 14 times.


As a congressman he’s led several nonviolent actions including a gun reform sit-in on the House floor. In March 2003, Lewis spoke to a crowd of 30,000 in Oregon during an anti-war protest before the start of the Iraq War. He was arrested in 2006 and 2009 and outside the Sudan embassy in protest against the genocide in Darfur. He’s also boycotted the inaugurations of George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. As a member of the Democratic Congressional leadership, he served as senior chief deputy whip since 2003. At 71, he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. At 79, he announced a diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer.


01/03/2020 10:58 AMupdated: 01/03/2020 7:30 PM


  • Mohammed A.
    08/01/2020 08:57

    I wish I met him I'm from Africa because of him I'm here thank you

  • Andrew C.
    07/25/2020 23:55

    Rest in peace John Lewis 😥😢

  • Nor A.
    07/21/2020 19:13


  • Lesha N.
    07/21/2020 17:38

    Good riddance

  • Syed M.
    07/20/2020 08:55

    US loss a great leader & pathfinder, RIP Jon Lewis

  • Terje S.
    07/20/2020 05:56

    Bla bla bla blabla!

  • Janice S.
    07/20/2020 01:08

    He gave his entire adult life to fighting racial injustice ... RIP to a great human being

  • Helen Q.
    07/19/2020 21:09

    Great man great orator.

  • Julie S.
    07/19/2020 19:19

    Why did God have to take someone so good I’m heartbroken

  • Victoria F.
    07/19/2020 14:53

    Thank you, President Trump, for your attention on the growing Antifa and BLM destruction and violence in the PNW. The citizens of WA and OR are living under domestic terror. We are afraid to live our lives because these terrorists are operating with the SUPPORT of our mayors and governors. If BLM and Antifa can take control of the Portland Police Office and fire explosives into the Federal Building, they can take control of our homes and businesses. There are instructional videos online on how to break into a locked auto to take the occupants out of their vehicle.We need more Federal support now. The New Democratic Socialist Party has stated that their goal is "the Abolition of the US".

  • Verna R.
    07/19/2020 12:25

    Our country lost a great statesman with the passing of John Lewis.

  • Robin Y.
    07/19/2020 11:24

    Great man ! R I P

  • Saulo S.
    07/19/2020 10:12


  • Nimo I.
    07/19/2020 07:48


  • Linda M.
    07/19/2020 05:09

    John Lewis Our American Hero

  • Iris E.
    07/19/2020 03:06

    RIP. 🙏🏻

  • Judith G.
    07/19/2020 03:04

    Rest In Peace and thank you

  • Roger C.
    07/19/2020 02:17

    I'm glad he is gone !!!

  • Inge C.
    07/18/2020 23:57

    To family and friends

  • DivinePromise U.
    07/18/2020 23:05

    May he RIP

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