John Lewis (February 21, 1940—July 17, 2020) was an American politician and civil rights leader who served as a United States Representative for the Fifth Congressional District in Georgia from 1987 until he died in 2020. Lewis is best known for his chairmanship of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and for leading the march that was halted by police violence on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, a landmark event in the history of the Civil Rights Movement that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” Even after enduring physical attacks, serious injuries, and more than 40 arrests, Lewis’ devotion to nonviolent resistance to racism remained steadfast.
Lewis died at age 80 on July 17, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia, after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Of his experience with cancer, Lewis stated, “I have been in some kind of fight—for freedom, equality, basic human rights—for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.”
Read his full bio here.
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