John Lewis(February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020) was an American politician and civil rights leader.
He was the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death in 2020. He was the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. The district he served includes the northern three-fourths of Atlanta. He was a member of the Democratic Party.
Today, America mourns the loss of one of the greatest heroes of American history: Congressman John Lewis, the Conscience of the Congress,” the California Democrat said.
Lewis was awarded over 50 honorary degrees.
Lewis had vowed to fight the disease after announcing in late December 2019 that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which was discovered as a result of a routine medical visit and subsequent testing.
“I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,”he said in a statement at the time.
Lewis, a Democrat who served as the US representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district for more than three decades, was widely seen as a moral conscience of Congress because of his decades-long embodiment of nonviolent fight for civil rights. His passionate oratory was backed by a long record of action that included, by his count, more than 40 arrests while demonstrating against racial and social injustice.
A follower and colleague of Martin Luther King Jr., he participated in lunch counter sit-ins, joined the Freedom Riders in challenging segregated buses and — at the age of 23 — was a keynote speaker at the historic 1963 March on Washington.
“Sometimes when I look back and think about it, how did we do what we did? How did we succeed? We didn’t have a website. We didn’t have a cellular telephone,” Lewis has said of the civil rights movement.