Civil Rights icon John Lewis passed away at the age of 80

Civil Rights icon, Rep. John Lewis Passes Away **FILE PHOTOS**

Congressman and Civil Rights pioneer John Lewis passed away on Friday, July 17th. John Lewis was always too good for this world, and he was the last major figure from that generation of Civil Rights leaders, and the last living speaker from the March on Washington. He battled cancer in his final years and that was what took him in the end. He was the son of Alabama sharecroppers and he walked with the Reverend Dr. King. He got his skull bashed in by police in Selma and he became one of the most respected and influential congressmen in history. He wanted everyone to vote. He wanted everyone to have access to free elections. He wanted democracy to prevail. He wanted justice for his people and for all people. He wanted America to be better and do better.

Something slightly annoying about the coverage of Mr. Lewis’s passing is that people continue to be so focused on what he did in his early years, during the Civil Rights Movement, his March on Washington Speech and his voting rights work. But Mr. Lewis was a tireless activist for his entire life. Today, the new Voting Rights Act (which should be called the John Lewis Voting Rights Act) sponsored and written by Rep. Lewis has been stalled in the Senate for the better part of a year. It needs to be passed and signed into law. The Edmund Pettus Bridge should be renamed the John Lewis Bridge as well.

For hours and hours on Friday and Saturday, Donald Trump refused to acknowledge Mr. Lewis’s passing. Then he finally tweeted something. He must have heard all of the current civil rights leaders saying that he needs to keep John Lewis’s name out of his f–king orange mouth, and that’s why he did it.

Anyway, the real president, Barack Obama, published a lengthy statement on John Lewis’s passing. The photo, you guys. I’m crying.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Instagram.

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52 Responses to “Civil Rights icon John Lewis passed away at the age of 80”

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  1. Scollins says:

    O thank you so much for posting Biden’s tribute, I’d missed it.
    John Lewis is irreplaceable. We’re so fortunate to have lived to see him in action.
    Bernice King’s “So I must mourn and move at the same time” resonates with me. For months I’ve felt deep sadness over so many horrific things but try hard to keep it together and keep working for change. On top of the cruelty and chaos I miss my family, need my family, but have no idea when I’ll be able to be with them again.

  2. JustBe says:

    Now I’m crying too.
    In these difficult times, we really fearless people getting into ‘good trouble’. John Lewis’ death is a tremendous loss. We so desperately need his leadership right now .
    My condolences to his loved ones.

  3. Aang says:

    Biden’s tribute is very moving. I fear that America will never see men like John Lewis again. He and his cohorts were cut from different cloth.

  4. 10KTurtle says:

    A great & courageous man. Thank you, John Lewis.

  5. Sierra says:

    His fight is over, now the next generation will have to carry on fighting.


  6. Eleonor says:

    Thank you for everything.

  7. liz says:

    Of all the stories I have heard about this gentle giant of a man in the last 24 hours, I think my favorite is the one from the 2015 ComicCon. The second volume of March had been released and he was there to promote it. He led a Children’s March around the convention center, dressed as he had been on the March from Selma to Montgomery. Only a true hero gets to cosplay himself, while teaching the next generation.

    He has earned his rest.

    • Ellen Olenska says:

      A dear friend posted a picture where he ran into John Lewis at the local Kroger ( a regular grocery store). And it was not an uncommon occurrence. He was a giant, who still walked among all the rest of us. He never forgot who he was working for or what the fight was.

  8. Joan Callamezzo says:

    I don’t understand how he could be attacked and beaten time after time and not react in self defense. Congressman Lewis demonstrated a level of courage and faith I cannot fathom. He spent his entire life making our country a better place. He will always be an inspiration. May he rest in power.
    VOTE in November.

  9. tempest prognosticator says:

    Godspeed John Lewis. The world was a better place with you in it.

  10. Lightpurple says:

    Trump didn’t write that Tweet; either Ivanka or Hope Hicks was doing damage control.

    Rev. C.T. Vivian passed Friday morning as well. Two great Americans, who fought together for the same cause, left us together. I had just finished reading Obama’s lovely tribute to Vivian when the news of Lewis’s passing broke. May they rest in power.

    • Jerusha says:

      It’s obvious trump didn’t write that tweet and they still couldn’t get the grammar correct.

      • Lightpurple says:

        Ivanka is a blithering idiot who lacks a basic grasp of the English language.

      • Holly hobby says:

        He was at the links with Lindsay Graham so no he didn’t write that. Maybe lying kaylee macaroni did

    • Truthiness says:

      Yes, it had to be that other people were behind the tweet. Trump attacked Lewis ahead of his inauguration and he is a guy who lives for his feuds. Lewis did more to make America great in one day than Trump will do in a lifetime. I remember how Trump stopped attacking Lewis as quickly as he started it, I’m sure he was warned off that he would never win that fight and he would take on serious damage.

      Thank you Kaiser & CB for including Hilary and Bernice’s comments among the sea of men. Hillary will always be the 2016 popular vote winner for President and Bernice continues her family’s fight for civil rights. I appreciate their inclusion.

  11. Sarah says:

    After Obama’s first swearing in, John Lewis asked him to sign a commemorative photograph. Obama signed it and wrote, “Because of you, John.” 😭

    • Lucy2 says:

      Wow, that must’ve been quite a moment for both of them. I’m so glad he got to live long enough to see Obama’s Presidency.

  12. Frida_K says:

    “So I must mourn and move at the same time” speaks to my soul.

    When I heard this news, my sense of despair and grief overwhelmed. But then I thought to myself: well, if our national treasure, this blessed man John Lewis, gave in to despair and grief whenever he suffered a hard blow, where would we be? Where would we be?

    And so I tuck my despair and grief into a corner of my heart, to a place to which I can return later when life is more settled, and I continue to do my part now, in my own way, to benefit the world in which I live.

    We all have something we can do, and now the call, in the name of this hero, is that much louder.

    Mourn and move, yes, indeed.

  13. grabbyhands says:

    I’m sad but also deeply ashamed.

    This man literally risked his life, gave his actual blood to fight for civil rights and at a time when he should have been enjoying the legacy of that fight, he instead had to witness its (attempted) destruction by a malignant, selfish, childish FOOL of a person for, among many stupid reasons, simply daring not to fall at his feet. Someone who isn’t fit to have John Lewis’ name in his mouth.

    An 80 year old man with stage 4 pancreatic cancer should not have had to be on the front lines in the middle of a pandemic, risking his life AGAIN for the same things he fought for 55 YEARS ago. Yet here was such a man. A true lion of civil rights and public service.

  14. lizziebuck says:

    One of the joys of living in Atlanta is you could easily run into John Lewis. I last saw him (and got a photo!) at a Barnes & Noble. It was just before Christmas, he was tired, but his face still lit up when I asked for a photo. He was a saint, a warrior, a true soul. But many of y’all may not know that he was always filled with JOY. Probably because he knew he was doing the right thing. God bless us all who must go on without his leadership.

    • Holly hobby says:

      Someone on twitter ran his segment at the Colbert show. He actually jumped into the crowd and the audience carried him. That was a sight to be seen. Such a wonder patriot.

  15. Soupie says:

    Everyone in America needs to see the movie The Free State of Jones to understand what really went on in the South during the Civil War. It is shattering.

    Never mind that the movie got a mediocre score and “bombed at the Box office” it’s a wonderfully told story, beautifully acted and needs to be seen by EVERY student of American history starting with grade school on up. But of course it isn’t because we all know the state of American schools for the past 50-60 decades.

    Please check it out. Matthew McConaughey did an absolutely beautiful job. Kudos to him for bringing the story to life. He also utilized the making of this particular film for his “professor in practice” stint at the University of Texas Austin. Small wonder.

    The author of the Free State of Jones is Victoria Bynum. Her sister Lou Ann is the interim Superintendent-President at Long Beach City College in California.

  16. Jerusha says:

    John Lewis was one of the greatest Americans who ever lived. We were fortunate to have him. Fortunate that despite the obstacles, the violence, the hatred in his path, he lived a long life and continued to fight the battle he had begun as a teenager on a sharecropper farm in Alabama. I feel a great sadness, but also gratitude for what he accomplished, and acknowledgement that the fight continues.
    I met Mr. Lewis very briefly three years ago, just one of thousands he had met over 50+ years, but for me it’s a moment I’ll never forget, shaking his hand, I knew I was in the presence of greatness.

  17. KellyRyan says:

    More tears for a beautiful soul, the best of humanity. There is chatter the first act we need to pass into law when Biden is president, the Voting Rights Act. John saw the future in our youth who would move us forward.

  18. BearcatLawyer says:

    Biden’s tweet reveals one of the biggest differences between him and Cheeto Mussolini: “I haven’t done enough.” Biden recognizes that he is fallible and should always try harder. And that alone should be reason enough to vote for him.

    • paddingtonjr says:

      Very well said @BearcatLawyer. No country needs a leader who is content with the way things are and thinks he knows everything. The hallmarks of a good leader include knowing what he doesn’t know and being able to listen to those who do know as well as being able and willing to grow and learn. We have a long way to go but it’s not a hopeless situation.

  19. Traveler says:

    A remarkable man and an enormous loss.

  20. ChillyWilly says:

    A truly great man. He put his life on the line to fight for justice and freedom.

  21. aquarius64 says:

    John Lewis was an icon and his legacy will live on forever. The Orange Menace only sent out a tweet and ordered the flags at half staff because he was dragged on TV for the slow show of respect.

  22. Ariel says:

    It was so important for this young generation to have seen this icon, still at work.
    He made our world a better place. And we owe him to continue his work, including never voting for anyone in congress who does not support his new voting rights act,
    If a politician doesn’t want “certain people” to vote- they don’t deserve anyone’s vote.

  23. Truthiness says:

    We have lost one of our best. At a time when we need every one of our moral compasses. I hope he can lay in state, even in a pandemic. If you missed Letterman’s Netflix interview of Lewis, along with Obama, it’s a great watch. Letterman went out to the bridge with Lewis. Preview

    There is also a video of John crowd surfing after a Colbert interview (on YT) that is really comforting this weekend of loss.

  24. EviesMom says:

    American needs every last one of their good leaders. Godspeed Mr Lewis. I hope you country finds a new path which would be an awesome way to honour your work.

  25. Incognito08 says:

    Thank you very much for acknowledging this wonderful man. I saw many tributes to him on various Social Media platforms yesterday. I felt compelled to give my own tribute to him by noting how my life is better because of his efforts on the front lines of the Civil Rights to ensure that everyone – regardless of race lived meaningful, good lives. He truly embodied the definition of an American patriot who loved everyone – even when America didn’t love him back. As an African-American woman/Gen Xer, I realize that I am a legacy of the generation before and willingly pick up the baton to stir up the “good trouble” as he called us to do to swing the pendulum towards justice and liberty for everyone.

  26. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Monumental Man. Demand votes. Demand change.

  27. Betsy says:

    Truly a giant of a man. Not many of us get to be the kind of human he was, even if we try.

    And the rest of us have to carry on for him.

  28. Liz version 700 says:

    I saw a picture of John Lewis looking down at the Black Lives Matter Plaza in DC. He had such a contemplative look on his face and I thought… “oh please no he looks like he is about to leave us.” He truly looked like he was giving his blessing to the next generation. He was an amazing man and truly a bada$$. He has earned his rest. Those of us left behind still have work to do and good trouble to get into.

  29. Joanna says:

    Thank you for the post on this legend.

  30. Onemoretime says:

    When I saw the news he passed I cried myself to sleep. We knew he was sick and it was coming but this hit me so hard. Maybe with all the other chaos in this hellhole that is 2020, I just couldn’t take it anymore.
    John Lewis is an icon, a giant and an inspiration to us all.
    I have been enjoying all the tributes and clips on social media of him dancing to Happy & crowd surfing with Colbert. He will be missed, I will honor him by getting as many to vote as possible.

  31. Eleonora says:

    So sad to hear this.
    Very respected and respectable man. His courage and loving nature will be missed. I wish the president could be someone like him.

    I don’t see him as the last major leader from that time, by the way. Diane Nash is still alive.

  32. Jerusha says:

    This is a lovely thread about John Lewis. Twelve parts. Read them all as well as the responses from others who encountered him.

  33. Eugh says:

    May John Lewis rest in power

  34. paddingtonjr says:

    The best way to honor this hero is to continue his work. He has shown through example and through his hard work that change is possible but slow. I doubt there will ever be a time when the world will be perfect and everyone will be treated completely equally, but that doesn’t mean we stop fighting for that ideal.

  35. Bloomm(sic) says:

    I’ve heard of this chap but I’m unaware of his policy positions on economic issuess.
    Was he a socialist like MLK or a neoliberal like Obama?

  36. Lanie says:

    He was a civil rights icon.
    Google saves people from embarrassing themselves.

  37. JRenee says:

    I would have loved to shake his hand, true freedom fighter. They don’t make legends like this anymore. He worked his entire life to make this country a better place.

    The folks in Bama named that bridge after a Confederate general and known KKK leader.
    And now a petition is circulating to change the name to honor this humble man, it should have been done years ago.
    Rest in Power servant, job well done!

  38. dawnchild says:

    He was a great, great soul, and I’m so sad. I prayed for his health every day when I heard of the diagnosis. May he rest in joy.