John Lewis, a freedom fighter in the United States and a Democratic Congressman has died at the age of 80.
Lewis was the son of Alabama sharecroppers who waged nonviolent battles against injustice at lunch counters, schools, bus stations and streets of the South.
He was a 17-time Congressman and suffered a fractured skull at 25.
Lewis was hit by an officer’s club at the “Bloody Sunday” 1965 confrontation on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
In late December 2019, doctors discovered he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Lewis fought for the lunch counters, schools, bus stations and streets of the South to the halls of Congress, where he was the Democrats’ senior chief deputy whip and member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
According to the CNBC, he waged his fight against Jim Crow segregation laws by advocating nonviolent change despite being physically attacked and arrested numerous times. In Congress, he voted against the Gulf War and the Iraq War, led a sit-in on the House floor to demand gun control legislation, pressed for improved health care for the poor, tried to strengthen voting rights laws and fought a rearguard effort to protect welfare benefits from cuts.
Lewis is dubbed a moral ambassador for Americans and is highly rated for his rich work for humanity.
Lewis announced his bout with cancer in an emotional statement when he said; “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,”.
“I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross. … With God’s grace I will be back on the front lines soon. Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey.”
John Robert Lewis was born Feb. 21, 1940, to Willie Mae and Eddie Lewis in Pike County, Alabama. He grew up on the family’s cotton farm in Troy and attended all-Black public schools.
He received a B.A. in religion and philosophy from Fisk University and was a graduate of the American Baptist Theological Seminary, both in Nashville, Tennessee.
As a college student, Lewis organised sit-ins against segregated lunch counters in Nashville, and in 1961 he joined the Freedom Rides against segregation at bus terminals across the South, according to his congressional website.