The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. was the site of the violent incident known to many as “Bloody Sunday,” and the late Rep. John Lewis was among many who took the brave stance that day. The heroic congressman was honored with a final crossing of the bridge, with his casket drawn by a horse carriage in a somber but fitting tribute for a man who risked all for the good of the nation.
Lewis, who represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, passed away on July 17 after battling pancreatic cancer. As it should have been, Lewis was properly honored by his peers in Congress and to those connected to the ongoing battle for civil rights.
Instrumental in the fight for equal voting rights for all, Lewis was a young activist who was front and center in the Civil Rights Movement and suffered injuries from an angry white mob that sought to silence Lewis and his allies from peacefully demonstrating on that fateful day of March 7, 1965.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed just a week later, but only because of the alarming images and pain suffered by the marchers. The landmark moment of American history still exists as an ugly reminder that racism gripped the nation then much as it does now.
Lewis will lay in state at the Captial Rotunda and is the second Black lawmaker to receive such an honor. A public viewing of Lewis’ casket will come later after a privately held ceremony inside the Capitol building out of COVID-19 safety concerns.