Georgia Rep. and civil rights figure John Lewis dead at 80

National
Nancy Pelosi, John Lewis, Terri Sewell, Patrick Leahy

Civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., is hugged as House Democrats gathered before passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act to eliminate potential state and local voter suppression laws, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. At right is Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., who introduced the bill and who represents Selma, Ala., a city that was at the forefront of the 1960s civil rights movement. They are joined at far right by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

ATLANTA (AP) — John Lewis, a lion of the civil rights movement whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress, died. He was 80.

Lewis’ death was confirmed by a House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement Friday night.

Lewis was the last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He was best known for leading 600 protesters in the 1965 Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Lewis was knocked to the ground and beaten by state troopers. Televised images forced the country’s attention on racial oppression. A Democrat from Atlanta, he won his U.S. House seat in 1986.

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