John Lewis, towering figure of civil rights passes away at the age of 80

John Robert Lewis, a son of the sharecroppers who survived a ruthless beating by police in the course of a landmark 1965 march in Selma, Alabama, to going to become a towering figure of the civil rights movement and a longstanding US congressman, has passed away after fighting a six-month battle with cancer. 

“It is with inconsolable grief and enduring sadness that we announce the passing of U.S. Rep. John Lewis,” his family told in a statement. “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. He was a stalwart champion in the on-going struggle to demand respect for the dignity and worth of every human being. He dedicated his entire life to non-violent activism and was an outspoken advocate in the struggle for equal justice in America. He will be deeply missed.”

Lewis passed away on the very same day as civil rights figurehead the Rev. Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, aged 95. Double deaths of the civil rights icons happened when the nation is still struggling with racial turmoil following the demise of George Floyd and the succeeding Black Lives Matter protests that have swept the nation.

It’s one more heartbreak as America mourns the demises of about 140,000 Americans due to Covid-19 and fights to keep the virus under control.

Nancy Pelosi, a House Speaker declared his death in a statement and said: “Today, America mourns the loss of one of the greatest heroes of American history: Congressman John Lewis, the Conscience of the Congress,”

Lewis had pledged to battle this disease after revealing details in December 2019 that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which was detected in one of the regular medical visits and subsequent testing.

“I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” he informed in a statement at the time.

Lewis, a Democrat who worked as the US representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district for over three decades, was widely perceived as a moral conscience of Congress owing to his decades-long archetype of a nonviolent battle for civil rights. His passionate eloquence was supported by a long history that included upwards of 40 arrests whilst demonstrating against racial and social inequity.

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