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John Lewis Crosses Edmund Pettus Bridge as a Final Farewell

July 27, 2020, 03.00 PM

SELMA, – A lone caisson drawn by two black horses carried the body of leading figure of the US civil rights movement, John Lewis, across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday.

The immensely symbolic tribute across the Alabama bridge was the site where a policeman fractured John’s skull in 1965.

John Lewis had participated in a protest that would help forge his reputation as a fearless civil rights leader in the US. He died on July 18 at the age of 80.

Read also: Leading Figure of US Civil Rights Movement John Lewis Dead at 80

The procession across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma happened on the second of six days of solemn commemorations for the respected rights activist.

John Lewis was also a 17-term Georgia congressman.

The event timing came a year when the “Black Lives Matter” protests against police brutality sent thousands onto US streets further highlighting the raw-depths of America’s racial history.

Read also: New York’s Black Lives Matter Mural Vandalized Again

The procession on a warm and sunny Sunday morning was saluted by a line of Alabama state troopers — a starkly different reception from what Lewis received in the March 7, 1965 march in Selma, when a trooper beat the then-25-year-old to the ground with a nightstick, nearly killing him.

That day's march, later dubbed "Bloody Sunday," was considered a turning point in the rights movement.

John Lewis, then chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, led hundreds of marchers across the bridge along with fellow activist Hosea Williams.

When police met them and ordered them to disperse, the group knelt in prayer.

Police then charged, swinging billy clubs. The day's events left a scar on John's head that he bore for the rest of his life.

'Keep the Faith'

The horse-drawn wagon carrying Lewis on Sunday paused briefly at the midpoint — where the African-American driver, dressed in traditional black tails, briefly removed his top hat in respect — before completing the crossing over the bridge, strewn earlier with rose petals.


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