Body of Rep. John Lewis Makes Final Journey Across the Edmund Pettus Bridge

 

This morning, a caisson bearing the body of Rep. John Lewis crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, as people in the city said goodbye to the civil rights icon who helped change the course of the nation.

Today’s journey began at the historic Brown Chapel AME Church, where many events of the civil rights movement of the 1960s were planned. A brief program was held there, featuring words from Rep. Terri Sewell.

Lewis died July 17 at the age of 80. He had been battling pancreatic cancer.

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The caisson made a pause at the top of the bridge, symbolizing the point where Lewis and other marchers on March 7, 1965 first got a glimpse of the wall of law enforcement officers who were awaiting them on the other side, who had been ordered to stop their march for voting rights for all people.

On that day, called “Bloody Sunday”, Lewis was beaten, suffering a cracked skull and a concussion.

But images from that day shocked and angered the country. A few days later, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was introduced in Congress and became law in August of that year.

After the caisson made it across the bridge, the casket was loaded into a hearse to be driven to Montgomery, closely mirroring the Selma-to-Montgomery march that happened a few weeks after Bloody Sunday.

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John Lewis beaten on March 7, 1965 (AP Photo/File)

Lewis will lie in state at the Alabama Capitol today before memorial services continue in Washington and Atlanta later this week.

Stay with Alabama News Network for complete coverage of remembrances for Rep. John Lewis.

Categories: Montgomery, News, West Alabama