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

  • Brandie C.
    07/29/2020 10:22

    Wow what a proud man but I might be mistaken but wasn't he that Manor that was blaming the KKK or saying the serial killer was a white man that was killing heaps of American African children and wouldn't listen to the people on the case that it was American African man because majority of serial killers kill their own ethnicity but he keep saying it was kkk .then when the man was found he was American African and the man was jailed but the town end up being divide by race with the American believe that the man was the murder and there was proof but the American African didn't believe it was him because he was American African but I might be wrong here of which Manor it was as I'm from nz

  • Pipe Z.
    07/29/2020 08:06

    *Second Black Congressman to lie in state

  • Lourdes L.
    07/29/2020 00:57

    Rest in Power

  • Joseph S.
    07/28/2020 21:13


  • Trudi K.
    07/28/2020 20:23

    Condolences to family And to us-the citizens such a loss for justice & freedom

  • Rachel C.
    07/28/2020 19:06

    John Lewis fought a good fight I'm thankful for all that he and so many more have done to stop injustice toward African Americans in this country

  • Jithesh N.
    07/28/2020 16:48

    Great man super video. TnkU

  • Jithesh N.
    07/28/2020 16:48

    Great man super video. TnkU

  • Linda C.
    07/28/2020 14:02

    God rest his Soul.

  • Carolyn D.
    07/28/2020 13:55

    Thank you

  • Tyna E.
    07/28/2020 13:13

    Thought Elijah Cummings was the first

  • Danny H.
    07/28/2020 12:59

    Elijah Cummings was the first Black lawmaker to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Both he and John Lewis were great men who fought for justice and equity at every step. Rest In Peace.

  • Kim H.
    07/28/2020 12:35


  • 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

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