'The Boy from Troy': Funeral services begin for the late Rep. John Lewis
Lewis, 80, died last Friday, after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.
The first of six days of celebration to honor the life of "The Boy from Troy," Rep. John Lewis began on Saturday in his hometown of Troy, Alabama.
The civil rights and voting rights icon died on July 17 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80.
Lewis, who is also known as the "conscience of the U.S. Congress" and affectionately called "Robert" by his family, was remembered during a public funeral service inside Troy University where attendees wore face masks and practiced social distancing.
The funeral was in true "homegoing" style -- a word used to describe African American funerals celebrating the life of the deceased which often includes heartfelt remembrances.
The day before Lewis' passing, his brother Henry "Grant" Lewis said he had their usual late night conversation where the congressman asked about the well-being of family members by name.
"That's the John Lewis we grew to love ... He worked a lifetime to make sure the world was a better place for everyone," said Henry Lewis, adding, "Before he passed, he was at peace and ready to meet the Lord."
Four of John Lewis' other siblings remembered their brother by echoing his iconic phrases like "good trouble is necessary trouble" and "See something. Say something. Do something."
"It's up to us to keep his legacy alive," said Jackson Lewis, a great nephew of John Lewis.
The civil rights leader served 17 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives serving the 5th Congressional District of Georgia.
John Lewis marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other voting rights demonstrators as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965. Despite conducting a peaceful demonstration, the peaceful protesters were beaten by police in an event deemed "Bloody Sunday."
Following the Saturday morning service, a private ceremony will honor John Lewis at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma ahead of another public viewing.
On Sunday morning, a procession from Brown Chapel will take place, making way to the Pettus bridge where Lewis will cross for the last time.
Over the next week, Lewis will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, Alabama State Capitol and Georgia State Capitol.
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