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


  • M.c. E.
    07/23/2021 03:50


  • Leroy P.
    07/20/2021 13:15

    Straight facts 💯

  • Carl G.
    07/19/2021 01:49

    I wonder about what he did "specifically" for Black people!!!

  • Holly J.
    07/17/2021 18:21

    People with disabilities were treated the exact same way as people of color were treated many years ago. To this day people with disabilities face the worst economic disparities, systemic oppression and slavery. People with disabilities are still getting paid submission wages and face deep-rooted discrimination when it comes to employment and housing. I thank John Lewis for advocating for people with disabilities which is often a hidden group.

  • Martin M.
    07/17/2021 18:11 That's the biggest Lie !!!!

  • Justindhas
    03/02/2021 10:24

    Glory full message God bless present trump

  • Sebastian S.
    02/28/2021 07:12

    Great man

  • Aaron M.
    02/12/2021 19:28

    Trump won the election! Impeach traitor Joe!

  • Jo B.
    02/09/2021 20:57

    His name should be in history books around the word, not remembered one month out of 12. RIP John Lewis

  • Gil F.
    02/09/2021 12:06

    A divider not a unifier!!

  • Tom K.
    02/09/2021 10:25

    What a Brilliant man RIP 🙏

  • Helen K.
    02/08/2021 23:57

  • Helen K.
    02/08/2021 23:54

    Is that Bridge still named the "Edmund Pettus Bridge"?

  • Val B.
    02/08/2021 23:14

    He was a great man.

  • J M.
    02/08/2021 23:12

    He was a democrat.

  • 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 ❤️

  • Otis T.
    02/06/2020 12:12

    Icon, thank you Sir, job well done!

  • Louis S.
    02/01/2020 03:44

  • Louis S.
    02/01/2020 03:37

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