John Lewis: Civil rights icon and congressman dies aged 80

John Lewis: Civil rights icon and congressman dies aged 80

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Rep John Lewis declared he experienced phase 4 most cancers in December 2019

Rep John Lewis, a leader in the civil legal rights movement and later US congressman, has died at the age of 80.

Lewis was one particular of the “Major 6” civil rights leaders, which included Martin Luther King Jr, and aided organise the historic 1963 March on Washington.

As a congressman he was a Georgia Democrat, and represented an place which included most of its funds Atlanta.

In December 2019 Lewis announced that he experienced been diagnosed with Phase 4 pancreatic cancer.

“I have been in some sort of combat – for flexibility, equality, simple human legal rights – for virtually my entire everyday living,” he mentioned in a assertion unveiled at the time. “I have under no circumstances confronted a battle rather like the one particular I have now.”

Through the civil rights movement, Lewis was one particular of the founders of the Scholar Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and then grew to become its chairman from 1963 to 1966.

He co-organised and spoke at the March on Washington for Careers and Freedom, the rally at which Dr King delivered his historic I Have a Dream speech.

Lewis was the past surviving speaker from the march.

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John Lewis addressing the crowd at the historic March on Washington in 1963

Democratic Speaker of the Dwelling Nancy Pelosi verified Lewis’s demise in a statement posted on her web site and on social media.

She wrote that Lewis “was a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery remodeled our nation”, and that as a congressman he was “revered and beloved on both equally sides of the aisle and each sides of the Capitol”.

“Each working day of John Lewis’s existence was focused to bringing freedom and justice to all,” she stated. “As he declared 57 years in the past during the March on Washington, standing in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial: ‘Our minds, souls, and hearts are unable to relaxation until eventually liberty and justice exist for all the people.’

“How fitting it is that even in the last weeks of his fight with cancer, John summoned the toughness to stop by the tranquil protests the place the most recent generation of Americans experienced poured into the streets to get up the unfinished perform of racial justice.”

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Media captionJohn Lewis spoke to the BBC about the March on Washington in 2013

On news of his loss of life, civil rights team the NAACP tweeted that they have been “deeply saddened”.

“His daily life-long mission for justice, equality and independence remaining a lasting perception on our nation and planet,” the organisation reported. “The NAACP extends our sincerest condolences to his relatives, and we send prayers of ease and comfort and strength to all.”

Former presidential applicant Elizabeth Warren tweeted that Lewis “was a true American hero and the ethical compass of our nation”.

Lewis’s demise will come on the similar day as the dying of fellow civil rights chief C T Vivian at the age of 95. Vivian served organise the Flexibility Rides – a protest to combine buses in the south – and later on went on to direct the Southern Christian Leadership Convention (SCLC).

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Muhammad Wayne

About the author: Muhammad Wayne

Wayne is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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