John Lewis crosses Alabama bridge one final time

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published 3 weeks ago - Duration: 01:19s

John Lewis crosses Alabama bridge one final time

[NFA] A caisson bore the body of the lawmaker and civil rights icon who marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 and was met with a bloody police crackdown that drew national awareness to the fight for voting rights.

This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

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John Lewis crosses Alabama bridge one final time

The body of American civil rights icon and lawmaker John Lewis crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday.

It was on this spot in 1965 that Lewis, along with Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and others marching on Selma, Alabama seeking to register to vote was met by state troopers, dogs, tear gas and billy clubs.

The then-25-year-old activist was beaten bloody, his skull cracked.

Fifty-five years later, state troopers saluted as a caisson bore him across the landmark one last time.

Lewis, who died on July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, was a fiercely determined champion of nonviolent protest.

An Alabama sharecropper's son who strove for equality at a time of racist Jim Crow laws, Lewis played an outsized role in U.S. politics for six decades, first elected in 1986 to represent Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Edmund Pettus Bridge is a searing symbol of the civil rights struggle.

It bears the name of a former Confederate soldier who championed the cause of slavery and after the civil war was active in the Ku Klux Clan.

The bridge became synonymous with brutality after the "Bloody Sunday" crackdown in 1965 - an event that inspired President Lyndon Johnson to push Congress into passing the landmark Voting Rights Act.

Some are now calling for the bridge to be renamed in Lewis's honor.

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