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Is John Lewis the first African American to lie in state at the Capitol?

JOHN Lewis was the first black man to lie in the US Capitol Rotunda following his death.

He received the highest American honor surrounded by distinguished lawmakers and family on Monday.

AFP
Late Rep. Lewis lies in state at the U.S. Capitol in Washington[/caption]

The civil rights leader lost his fight against pancreatic cancer on July 17.

Who was John Lewis?

John Robert Lewis was an American politician and civil rights leader.

He was born on 21 February, 1940, outside the town of Troy, in Pike County, Alabama.

Getty Images - Getty
Selma Bloody Sunday 50th Anniversary[/caption]

While attending segregated schools in Alabama, Lewis was inspired by the peaceful protests of leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr.

Lewis helped launch the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was named its chairman in 1963, making him one of the Big Six at a tender age alongside Martin Luther King.

Alamy Live News
Alabama troopers salute the body of Rep. John Lewis, making the final crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the historic 1965 voting rights marches, on Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Selma, Alabama[/caption]

He will best be remembered for leading 600 protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965, an event that became known as the Bloody Sunday march.

Lewis was the senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus and a man known as the “conscience of the Congress.”

He had represented a Georgia district in Congress since 1987.

How did he die?

The Georgia lawmaker passed away on July 17 at his home in Atlanta after receiving hospice care to treat pancreatic cancer.

Getty Images - Getty
President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Freedom to distinguished Americans at a ceremony in the White House in Washington, DC.[/caption]

Lewis revealed he was receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer in December 2019.

At the time, Lewis stated: “I have been in some kind of fight – for freedom, equality, basic human rights – for nearly my entire life.

Alamy Live News
Lewis’s casket lay in the Capitol on Monday[/caption]

“I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.”

But Lewis lost his battle against the disease. He was 80.

In a statement to NBC News, Lewis’ family said: “He was honored and respected as the conscience of the US Congress and an icon of American history, but we knew him as a loving father and brother … a stalwart champion in the ongoing struggle to demand respect for the dignity and worth of every human being.”

Is he the first African American to lie in state at the Capitol?

The body of the Georgia congressman and civil rights leader was honored with a motorcade procession as part of a days-long tribute to the revered freedom fighter.

EPA
The United States Capitol Rotunda[/caption]

He lay in the US Capitol Rotunda for a few hours on Monday.

Lewis is the first black lawmaker to receive the distinguished American honor.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Nanacy Pelosi said Lewis was a “titan of the civil rights movement”[/caption]

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the late Georgia congressman and civil rights leader during the ceremony.

Pelosi commended Lewis for being “a titan of the civil rights movement.”

The Democratic leader also called him the “conscience of the United States Congress.”

Lewis’ casket was driven over the new Black Lives Matter Plaza outside the White House before arriving at the Capitol Dome.

EPA
Lewis passed away earlier this month[/caption]

About 46 family members and friends of Lewis participated in the motorcade.

Where else were services held for Lewis?

On Saturday, a service was held for Lewis in an arena at Troy University in Alabama, the state of his birth, with his surviving siblings and others paying tribute.

EPA
Lewis’s motorcade drives over the Black Lives Matter mural in Washington, DC[/caption]

Saturday’s ceremony kicked off six days of tributes.

Jackson Lewis Brewster, 7, touched hearts with his tribute at the Saturday memorial service in Alabama.

The week of solemn commemorations will end on Thursday in Atlanta, Georgia.

Other notable sites the motorcade will pass include the Martin Luther King memorial, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Lincoln Memorial.

Lewis will be laid to rest in Atlanta after a private service in the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King once preached.



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