The premiere of a six-day celebration of late civil rights activist and Democratic Congressman John Lewis began on Saturday, with his body first shown in his hometown of Troy and then traveling to Selma, Ala.
“Selma Greets Congressman John Lewis” was scheduled to take place from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Central time. After the service, held at AME Brown Chapel Church, Lewis will remain at rest, which is open to the public.
Lewis, also known as “the Boy of Troy” who was a voting rights activist and referred to as the “conscience of the United States Congress”, was recalled during a public funeral service at Troy University earlier Saturday.
The civil rights activist died at the age of 80 on July 17 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
JOHN LEWIS ‘CELEBRATION OF LIFE STARTS IN ALABAMA: SIX DAY TRIP STARTS IN TROY BEFORE GOING TO SELMA
Troy Mayor Jason Reeves praised Lewis’ strength in “facing Alabama state soldiers” during the civil rights movement.
“And now Alabama State Soldiers will lead his body around this state as we celebrate his life,” Reeves said earlier this week as Lewis’ body was delivered ahead of the memorial, “A service celebrating ‘the boy of Troy.’ ”
His coffin was accompanied by a ceremonial military guard and draped in an American flag.
Lewis remained a civil rights icon during the George Floyd protests that erupted in May.
The late Congressman issued a statement at the time expressing his deepest sorrow for the men and women who still suffer from systemic racism in the United States.
“My fellow Americans, this is a special moment in our history. Just as people of all faiths and no faiths, and of all walks of life, creed and color came together decades ago to fight for equality and justice in peaceful, orderly and non-violent ways, we must do so at new, ”Lewis wrote at the time. .
Lewis, a 1960s activist, was arrested for using a “white toilet” in 1961; he told protesters at the end of May that he understood their pain.
“I know your pain, your rage, your feeling of hopelessness and hopelessness,” Lewis tweeted. “Justice has indeed been denied for far too long. Riots, looting and fires are not the solution. Organize. To prove. Sit-in. Get up. Vote. Be constructive and not destructive. ”
Over 60 years ago, in 1958, Lewis met Martin Luther King Jr. at the age of 18; he had the ambition to attend an all-white university.
“He’s worked his whole life to help others and make the world a better place to live,” Lewis’s brother Grant said on Saturday before sharing the memory of his swearing-in to Congress.
“But what did you have in mind? Grant asked him afterwards.
“I thought it was far from the cotton fields of Alabama,” Lewis replied.
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Lewis served 17 years in Georgia’s 5th District in the United States House of Representatives.
His body will be laid to rest at 10 a.m. on Sunday in the State Capitol in Montgomery, having first been transported to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma – marking the same path the civil rights activist walked in 1965 .