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
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  • Kelly D.
    06/24/2020 09:53

    R. I. P.

  • Richard S.
    05/12/2020 17:49

    These are the last days Make your peace with God give Jesus your ❤️

  • Raul R.
    05/11/2020 15:37

    Racist. Bottom line. Hope you get replaced soon.

  • Joshua C.
    02/24/2020 17:41


  • Beverley G.
    02/24/2020 13:17

    Happy Birthday

  • E.J. M.
    02/22/2020 18:44

    Happy birthday John Lewis and thank you for your courage and wisdom.

  • Christina S.
    02/22/2020 17:43

    Congressman Lewis, you are the most admirable and inspirational and dedicated person, whom our county is so blessed to have as a citizen and representative. Wishing you a happy healthy birthday. Thank you!

  • Daniel H.
    02/22/2020 16:06

    Glad you died, give Baltimore a chance.

  • Dora W.
    02/22/2020 05:49

    Happy Bless Birthday. May God continue to Bless you.

  • Randale C.
    02/22/2020 02:03

    My king you will always be in spirit with the people for now you dwell amongst your ancestors the ones that have departed this world before you peace

  • Kent B.
    02/22/2020 01:55

    Didn't he die?

  • Abby R.
    02/22/2020 01:14

    Happy Birthday Rep. John Lewis! Thank you for your service to your constituents and all Americans!!

  • Ben B.
    02/21/2020 23:11

    This clown didnt even clap or stand up when the little black girl recieved tuition for school at the SOTU ..

  • Patty B.
    02/21/2020 22:54

    Happy Birthday ❤️

  • Jenny D.
    02/21/2020 22:19

    Happy Birthday Sir🌹❤️🌹

  • Terry W.
    02/21/2020 22:09

    Absolutely awesome person Rep. John Lewis 👍🏽👍🏽🦋❣️

  • Margie B.
    02/21/2020 22:08

    Happy Birthday

  • DeDe A.
    02/21/2020 21:52

    Happy Birthday

  • Robert O.
    02/21/2020 21:47

    Go to hell you crook!

  • Ernie T.
    02/21/2020 21:46

    He is deceased