John Lewis (civil rights leader)

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John Lewis
John Lewis-2006 (cropped).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1987 – July 17, 2020
Preceded byWyche Fowler
Succeeded byVacant
3rd Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
In office
June 1963 – May 1966
Preceded byCharles McDew
Succeeded byKwame Ture
Personal details
Born
John Robert Lewis

(1940-02-21)February 21, 1940
Troy, Alabama, U.S.
DiedJuly 17, 2020(2020-07-17) (aged 80)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Lillian Miles
(m. 1968; died 2012)
Children1
EducationAmerican Baptist College (BA)
Fisk University (BA)
WebsiteHouse website

John Robert Lewis (February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020) was an American politician and civil rights leader. He was the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death in 2020. He was the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. He was a member of the Democratic Party.

Lewis, who as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was one of the "Big Six" leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington.[1]

Early Life[change | change source]

John Lewis was born in 1940 in Troy, Alabama to Eddie Lewis and Willie Mae Lewis (née Carter), who were sharecroppers in Pike County, Alabama.[2][3][4][5] Sharecroppers were people who were allowed to rent a part of a piece of land for return of a share of the crops they harvested. He was the third of ten children.

He experienced segregation as a young boy in the Southern United States. When he went to visit relatives in the Northern US, he learned that places there were integrated and served Black people and white people equally.[6]

Personal Life[change | change source]

Lewis married Lilian Miles in 1968. They had a son, John-Miles. Lillian died on December 31, 2012.[7]

Death[change | change source]

In December 2019, Lewis was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.[8] He died in Atlanta, Georgia on July 17, 2020 from the disease, aged 80.[9][10]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Congressman John R. Lewis Biography and Interview". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
  2. Stated on Finding Your Roots, PBS, March 25, 2012.
  3. Lewis, John. Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement. p. 15.
  4. Reporting Civil Rights: American Journalism 1963–1973, Part Two Carson, Clayborne, Garrow, David, Kovach, Polsgrove, Carol (Editorial Advisory Board), (Library of America: 2003) ISBN 978-1-931082-29-7, pp. 15–16, 48, 56, 84, 323, 374, 384, 392, 491–94, 503, 505, 513, 556, 726, 751, 846, 873.
  5. Lewis, John. Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement. San Diego: Harcourt Brace. p. xv.
  6. John Lewis (1998). Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-15-600708-5. Retrieved January 1, 2013. john lewis The church he attended was attacked by the [Ku Klux Klan in 1904.
  7. Daniel Malloy (December 31, 2012). "Rep. John Lewis' wife, Lillian, dies". Blogs.ajc.com. Archived from the original on January 13, 2014. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  8. "Representative John Lewis diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer". CBS. December 29, 2019.
  9. King, Tom Vanden Brook, Deborah Barfield Berry and Ledyard. "Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon who began pushing for racial justice in the Jim Crow south, has died". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  10. "Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis has died at age 80".

Other websites[change | change source]