Congressman John Lewis, the Civil Rights icon nearly beaten to death on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge in a peaceful march for voting rights, died Friday at the age of 80.
Following is a tribute to the life and legacy of Congressman Lewis from Trey Granger, chair of the Alabama Humanities Foundation:
“Today we honor the life of Congressman John Lewis. Congressman Lewis rose from rural Alabama to help lead all Americans in our quest to form a more perfect union. John Lewis lived by example and represented the highest ideals of character, civility and human dignity. Today we mourn the passing of a great man whose earthly journey reflects our common humanity, but rejoice in knowing that he now begins the reward of life eternal.”
The march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 is known as Bloody Sunday when state troopers beat protesters with clubs. Lewis was among those who were beaten and suffered a fractured skull.
Of his lifelong quest for civil rights for all, Lewis said, “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.”