John Lewis, the civil rights warrior who marched with Martin Luther King Jr and was nearly killed in police beatings before serving for decades as a US congressman, died late Friday aged 80.
The African-American icon spent his life getting into what he liked to call “good trouble” — the confrontations necessary to improve the American democracy by ending discrimination and racial injustice.
“Today, America mourns the loss of one of the greatest heroes of American history,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of the 17 -term congressman from Georgia .
She described Lewis , who in late 2019 was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, as “ a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness , faith and bravery transformed our nation.”
The son of sharecroppers, Lewis was just 21 when he became a founding member of the Freedom Riders, who fought segregation of the US transportation system in the early 1960’s, eventually becoming one of the nation’s most powerful voices for justice and equality.