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Rep. John Lewis to be taken across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma

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More than five decades after he was slammed in the head by a white police officer’s billy club during a march with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, the late Rep. John Lewis will make one last crossing on Sunday.

In an emotional procession that symbolizes the 80-year-old Lewis’ lifelong work for civil rights, hundreds of mourners will join a procession to escort the congressman’s casket across the 1,284-foot bridge spanning the Alabama River. Horse-drawn caisson will carry Lewis’ casket across the bridge.

The somber journey brought Lewis full-circle to the spot he almost died as a 25-year-old on March 7, 1965, when Alabama state troopers attacked him and other civil rights demonstrators in an incident that became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

“I was hit with a billy club, and I saw the state trooper that hit me,” Lewis would recall later during a federal hearing. “I was hit twice, once when I was lying down and was attempting to get up.”

PHOTO: Rose petals representing the blood spilled on Bloody Sunday are seen on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, July 26, 2020. (Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)
PHOTO: Rose petals representing the blood spilled on Bloody Sunday are seen on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, July 26, 2020. (Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)

The moment that Lewis was attacked was captured in news photographs that opened the eyes of the world on the brutality civil rights marchers were enduring in the South in a quest for voting rights and equality for Black Americans.

Sunday’s tribute to Lewis comes during a six-day celebration of the man who became known as the “conscience of the U.S. Congress.”

The bridge crossing occurred a day after Lewis was eulogized in his hometown of Troy, Alabama.

Sunday’s march started at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in an event titled “#Good Trouble: Courage, Sacrifice & the Long March for Freedom.”

Lewis’ body is scheduled to be taken later Sunday to Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery to like in repose.

PHOTO: Congressman John Lewis in his offices in the Canon House office building in Washington, March 17, 2009. (Jeff Hutchens/Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: Congressman John Lewis in his offices in the Canon House office building in Washington, March 17, 2009. (Jeff Hutchens/Getty Images, FILE)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced last week that Lewis will be honored in a private ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Monday, followed by an unprecedented public viewing taking place outside, as opposed to inside, the Capitol building due to coronavirus concerns on Monday night and Tuesday.

Lewis died on July 17, seven months after a routine medical visit revealed that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Rep. John Lewis to be taken across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma originally appeared on abcnews.go.com



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