This blogger and author woke up today and was shocked to discover that Civil Rights Icon John Lewis, Georgia Congressman since 1987, had passed away at age 80 of pancreatic cancer.
Lewis was a great inspiration to all of us who believe in civil rights and progressive reforms, and he personally paid the price in the early to mid 1960s, leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
He was arrested multiple times and bloodied and injured by Ku Klux Klansman all over the South, but he remained committed to nonviolent civil disobedience and basic human rights.
Lewis was the last speaker to survive, among those who spoke at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, and worked closely with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, even though he was just a young man in his mid 20s.
There is a movement on to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama after him, as he was injured on “Bloody Sunday” on March 7, 1965, when marching for voting rights at that site.
Pettus was a Confederate Army General in the Civil War, a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, and a United States Senator from Alabama. It is time to remove his name from that bridge, and rename it after John Lewis.
Lewis will be remembered in the annals of history as a truly great man, and one of the most outstanding members historically of the House of Representatives.