John Lewis, lion of civil rights and Congress, dies at 80

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Read about John Lewis’s Tennessee activism, taking part in the Nashville lunch counter demonstrations as a seminary and Fisk student in the late 1950’s.


A timeline of events in the life of Rep. John Lewis

Rep. John Lewis rose from poverty to become a leader of the civil rights movement before being elected to Congress.

Lewis was born in rural Alabama on Feb. 21, 1940, during the dark days of Jim Crow segregation.

He was beaten by Alabama state troopers while leading voting rights marchers in 1965, and he entered politics by winning a seat on the Atlanta City Council in 1981.

Lewis then won his first congressional race in 1986 and was re-elected 16 times by a wide margin each election.

His honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.