John Lewis, U.S. congressman and sharecropper's son, was civil rights hero

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on July 18, 2020 - Duration: 02:06s

John Lewis, U.S. congressman and sharecropper's son, was civil rights hero

[NFA] John Lewis, who died on Friday at age 80, was a hero of the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960s who endured beatings by white police and mobs and played an outsized role in American politics for 60 years.

This report produced by Jonah Green.

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John Lewis, U.S. congressman and sharecropper's son, was civil rights hero

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EXISTING GRAPHICS MAY BE OVERWRITTEN BY CLIENT’S OWN GRAPHICS BUT NO FURTHER EDITS ARE PERMITTED, INCLUDING FOR LENGTH**~ He was known by his colleagues as the conscience of congress, and on Friday, Representative John Lewis died at the age of 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

An Alabama sharecropper’s son, Lewis was a hero of the 1960s civil rights movement, endured beatings by white police and mobs, and played an outsized role in American politics for 60 years.

A protege of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., Lewis led sit-ins to integrate all-white lunch counters, was one of the original “Freedom Riders” who integrated buses, and suffered a skull fracture in a savage beating while demonstrating for Black voting rights on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma during an incident now called “Bloody Sunday.” 
Fifty years later he walked arm-in-arm with the nation’s first Black president across that same bridge.

Lewis was elected in 1986 as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia, and kept up the fight for civil rights and human rights until the end of his life, inspiring others with calls to make what he called “Good Trouble.” (LEWIS, MARCH 1, 2020): "Go out there.

Speak up.

Speak out.

Get in the way.

Get in good trouble, necessary trouble and help redeem the soul of America." In June 2016, Lewis used the non-violent protest tactics he learned from King to help organize a 24-hour sit-in on the House floor to push for gun control legislation.

And he continued to fight for voting rights throughout his career.

(LEWIS, MARCH 8, 2019): “The vote is an opportunity to be on the right side of history." Tributes from leaders in both parties poured in late Friday and Saturday.

In a statement, former President Barack Obama said that Lewis “loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise.

And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.”

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