Civil rights leader John Lewis has died

Renowned American civil rights activist John Lewis has died.

Congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis has died at 80. (Photo: cnn.com)

He was 80.

Lewis shared that he was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in December 2019, saying at the time “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.”

He was the last surviving member of the Big Six civil rights activists, led by Martin Luther King Jr, who organised the 1963 march on Washington and helped make the greatest impact on the movement for equality.

Civil rights activists John Lewis and Hosea Williams leading the march in Selma.
(Photo: Spider Martin)

Lewis was best known for leading 600 protesters in the Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965.

President Barack Obama, who presented Lewis with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010, said “He loved this country so much that he risked his life and its blood so that it might live up to its promise.

“Early on, he embraced the principles of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience as the means to bring about real change in this country.”

Lewis joined King and four other civil rights leaders in organizing the 1963 March on Washington. He spoke to the vast crowd just before King delivered his epochal “I Have a Dream” speech.

The Congressman is survived by his son, John Miles Lewis, with wife Lillian, who passed away eight years ago.