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State leaders, organizations reflect on Lewis’ legacy

Hero of the Civil Rights Movement and Congressman John Lewis passed away on Friday after a battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 80.

Lewis cemented his place in the Queen City’s history when he and Hosea Williams led a group of fellow activists across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where they were met by Alabama State Troopers who dispersed the group using tear gas and night sticks.

“The sight of them rolling over us like human tanks was something that had never been seen before. People just couldn’t believe this was happening, not in America,” Lewis wrote in his memoirs.

After Bloody Sunday, Lewis continued his career advocating for Civil Rights, earning bipartisan praise as a Congressional Representative of Georgia.
Upon Lewis’ death, several organizations and officials across the state of Alabama, along with the rest of the nation, issued statements on his passing.

“Congressman Lewis was not only a valiant hero combating Jim Crow, but he was also a leading figure in the movement for racial justice, pushing Congress and presidents to act with moral integrity against all forms of injustice. His dedication to racial equality and justice was unmatched, and we owe a debt of gratitude to his tireless work to achieve full equality,” said Southern Poverty Law Center President and CEO Margaret Huang.

“As history continues to write about John Lewis, it will highlight a warrior who used a bridge as a simple but powerful reminder that all men and women are created equal,” said Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan. “His quiet demeanor was overshadowed by his larger than life boldness. His courageous footsteps were heard around the world.”

“America lost one of her most beloved and courageous heroes, Congressman John Lewis, who leaves behind a legacy of determination, change, and equality,” said Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill. “John Lewis‘s legacy serves as a reminder of our past and the long way we have come in this struggle and all we have accomplished. However, we can never forget the work to be done and the long way we have to go.”