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Dispatches Human Race

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Rep. John Lewis stands beneath a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. at the Capitol in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

John Lewis dies


In 1965, John Lewis was a 25-year-old civil rights leader. On March 7 of that year, police knocked Lewis to the ground and fractured his skull as he led hundreds of protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. Nationally televised images of the incident, which became known as “Bloody Sunday,” helped spur opposition to racial segregation. Lewis, who died on July 17 at age 80, later turned to politics and served for 33 years as one of the most liberal members of Congress. He announced in December 2019 that he had advanced pancreatic cancer. A horse-drawn carriage carried the former congressman’s body across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on July 26. The next day, Lewis became the first black lawmaker to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda. Lewis’ wife of more than 40 years, Lillian Miles, died in 2012. Their son John Miles Lewis survives them.

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