Week of John Lewis memorials begins with service in Alabama


A memorial service for former Congressman John Lewis in Troy, Alabama kicked off every week of tributes and providers for the civil rights icon that can embrace mendacity in state on Monday within the Rotunda of the US Capitol.

Lewis, the senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus and a person often called the “conscience of the Congress” whose activism was anchored in a perception that “good trouble” may change the world, died of most cancers on July 17, aged 80.

On Saturday, members of the general public gathered to view Lewis’s physique because it lay in state in an enviornment at Troy University in Alabama, the state of his start, in a service titled The Boy from Troy, the nickname Reverend Martin Luther King Jr gave Lewis at their first assembly in 1958 in Montgomery.

Lewis was born on a farm exterior of Troy, the son of sharecroppers, and attended segregated colleges.

In protecting with coronavirus precautions, the variety of guests was restricted to 800, bodily distancing was enforced, and masks required – a far cry from pre-coronavirus practices when a memorial for an icon like Lewis would have drawn many hundreds from throughout the nation.

At the service, his brothers and sisters recalled Lewis – who was known as Robert at home – as a boy who practised preaching and singing gospel songs to the livestock.

“I remember the day that John left home. Mother told him not to get in trouble, not to get in the way … but we all know that John got in trouble, got in the way – but it was good trouble,” his brother Samuel Lewis mentioned.

“And the troubles that he got himself into would change the world,” he added. 

After the ceremony on Saturday in Troy, commemorations will move to Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama for a non-public remembrance adopted by a public viewing.

John Lewis

John Lewis, left, was the youngest of the so-called Big Six activists who organised the 1963 March on Washington the place King gave his iconic I Have A Dream speech [File: Harry Harris/AP]

On Sunday, a procession will escort Lewis’s coffin from Brown Chapel to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which many have known as to be renamed in honour of Lewis. It was there that Lewis, throughout an historic 1965 civil rights march that got here to be often called “Bloody Sunday”, had his cranium fractured by police, one in every of many occasions he suffered such beatings.

Searing TV photos of that brutality helped galvanise nationwide opposition to racial oppression and embolden leaders in Washington, DC to cross the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act 5 months later, which eliminated some voting boundaries for Black Americans.

On Sunday afternoon, occasions will once more move to the town of Montgomery, the place the general public has been inspired to line sidewalks because the procession travels to the State Capitol.  

US Capitol memorial 

On Monday, Lewis will lie in state within the Rotunda of the US Capitol for viewing, initially, by a small, invitation-only group.

The coffin will then be moved to the highest of the steps on the Capitol’s East Front for public viewing on Monday night and all day Tuesday, in line with the Washington Post. 

John Lewis civil rights

John Lewis’s repute earned him the nickname the ‘Conscience of Congress’ [File: Yuri Gripas/Reuters]

Out of concern for the pandemic, the Lewis household has requested that individuals not travel from throughout the nation to pay respects, and as an alternative submit digital tributes.

The week of solemn commemorations will finish on Thursday in Atlanta, Georgia, the place Lewis can be laid to relaxation after a non-public service within the Ebenezer Baptist Church, the place Martin Luther King as soon as preached.

During Saturday’s memorial, Lewis’s sister, Rosa Tyner, recalled asking the civil rights icon every week earlier than his loss of life if he needed to see one other physician. 

“He said, ‘No, I’m at peace … and I’m ready to go.'”

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and information companies