John Lewis Makes Final Journey Across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma (Video)Breaking News
tags: civil rights, Alabama, voting rights, Selma, John Lewis
Fifty-five years ago, Alabama state troopers beat John Lewis and hundreds of protesters as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge. On Sunday, troopers saluted the late civil rights leader after he made his final journey across the span.
The body of the 17-term congressman was carried on a horse-drawn caisson from Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church to the bridge, where rose petals had been scattered. Two horses and a driver led the flag-draped casket, which paused for two minutes at 10:55 a.m. Central time when it reached the top of the bridge above the Alabama River. On the other side, the words of “We Shall Overcome” could be heard as family, hundreds of onlookers and several troopers greeted Lewis.
A military honor guard moved the casket from the caisson to a hearse for the trip to Montgomery, where he will lie in state. Alabama state police were accompanying Lewis to the capital.
“It is poetic justice that this time Alabama state troopers will see John to his safety,” Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-Ala.) said.
The ceremony came on the second of six days of tributes to the son of sharecroppers, fighter for civil rights and lawmaker widely hailed as the conscience of Congress. Lewis (D-Ga.) died July 17 at the age of 80 after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer six months earlier.
Hundreds had gathered along the route from the church to the bridge, some traveling hours to see Lewis’s final journey, others lining up in the early morning. They spoke of progress on race since the 1960s, the height of the civil rights movement, and how far the nation still must go to achieve equality.