Rights activists, politicians from both parties and many other people touched by the legacy of John Lewis mourned the congressman and pillar of the civil rights movement Saturday, lauding the strength, courage and kindness of a man whose lifelong struggle against racial discrimination took him from a bridge in Selma to the nation’s Capitol.
“As a young man marching for equality in Selma, Alabama, John answered brutal violence with courageous hope,” said former President George W. Bush. “And throughout his career as a civil rights leader and public servant, he worked to make our country a more perfect union.”
Lewis died Friday, several months after the Georgia Democrat announced that he had been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. Lewis, 80, often recalled his upbringing in the segregated South, including how he was denied a library card because the library was for “whites only.” He was determined to destroy segregation, joining with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to help plan the 1963 March on Washington.
With files from the Associated Press
With guest host Libby Denkmann
Franita Tolson, vice dean for faculty and academic affairs and professor of law at USC, where she specializes in election law