Body of civil rights icon John Lewis crosses Selma bridge

John_Lewis_Remembered_66144 The casket of Rep. John Lewis moves over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_93139 The casket of the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., arrives to lie in repose at Troy University on Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Troy, Ala.
John_Lewis-Remembered_13534 Bernice King talks to reporters inside Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the church her father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., once led, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Montgomery, Ala. Bernice King is to speak at a memorial vigil for Rep. John Lewis.
APTOPIX_John_Lewis_Remembered_28990 The casket of Rep. John Lewis moves over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_97453 Velvet Brantley Davis, of Prattville, Ala., poses for a photo next to doors at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church while waiting for the body of Rep. John Lewis to arrive at the Alabama Capitol, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Montgomery, Ala.
John_Lewis_Remembered_19036 The casket of Rep. John Lewis moves over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_07120 Bernice King talks to reporters inside Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the church her father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., once led, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Montgomery, Ala. Bernice King is to speak at a memorial vigil for Rep. John Lewis.
John_Lewis_Remembered_12726 The casket of Rep. John Lewis moves over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_25786 The casket of Rep. John Lewis moves over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_87011 The casket of Rep. John Lewis moves over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_04752 The casket of Rep. John Lewis sits in a hearse during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_36491 Flowers are handed to mourners during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_06921 The casket of Rep. John Lewis sits in a hearse during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_76675 A U.S. Military honor guard moves the casket of Rep. John Lewis after the casket moved over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_11860 A U.S. Military honor guard moves the casket of Rep. John Lewis after the casket moved over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_59333 A U.S. Military honor guard moves the casket of Rep. John Lewis after the casket moved over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_34395 Mourners watch the casket of Rep. John Lewis move over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_03244 An Alabama State trooper salutes as the casket of Rep. John Lewis moves down the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_50297 The casket of Rep. John Lewis moves after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_32301 Bernice King speaks during a memorial vigil for Rep. John Lewis on Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Montgomery, Ala. Lewis died July 17 at 80, months after he was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. Lewis served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death.
JOHN_LEWIS_REMEMBERED_85544 Alabama troopers salute the body of Rep. John Lewis making the final crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the historic 1965 voting rights marches, on Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Selma, Ala. The congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon died July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
JOHN_LEWIS_REMEMBERED_89857 Armed forces pall bearers transfer the body of Rep. John Lewis to a hearse after making the final crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the historic 1965 voting rights marches, on Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Selma, Ala. The congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon died July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
JOHN_LEWIS_REMEMBERED_73965 A carriage carrying the body of Rep. John Lewis finishes the final crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the historic 1965 voting rights marches, on Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Selma. The congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon died July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
JOHN_LEWIS_REMEMBERED_73909 Family members are given roses at the conclusion of the final crossing of Rep. John Lewis over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the historic 1965 voting rights marches, on Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Selma. The congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon died July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
JOHN_LEWIS_REMEMBERED_20849 Marcus Sharp, left, and Justin Mayes spread rose petals representing blood shed on the bridge for the final crossing of Rep. John Lewis over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the historic 1965 voting rights marches, on Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Selma, Ala. The congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon died July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
JOHN_LEWIS_REMEMBERED_21046 Rose petals representing blood shed on the bridge cover the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the final crossing of Rep. John Lewis at the site of the historic 1965 voting rights marches, on Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Selma, Ala. The congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon died July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer .
JOHN_LEWIS_REMEMBERED_92746 Justin Mayes spreads rose petals representing blood shed on the bridge for the final crossing of Rep. John Lewis over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the historic 1965 voting rights marches, on Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Selma, Ala. The congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon died July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
JOHN_LEWIS_REMEMBERED_69570 Justin Mayes spreads rose petals representing blood shed on the bridge for the final crossing of Rep. John Lewis over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the historic 1965 voting rights marches, on Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Selma, Ala. The congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon died July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
JOHN_LEWIS_REMEMBERED_48871 Onlookers watch and snap photos as the body of Rep. John Lewis makes the final crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the historic 1965 voting rights marches, on Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Selma, Ala. The congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon died July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
JOHN_LEWIS_REMEMBERED_58654 Onlookers watch the body of Rep. John Lewis making the final crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the historic 1965 voting rights marches, on Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Selma, Ala. The congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon died July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
John_Lewis-Remembered_74122 The body of Congressman John Lewis arrives at the Alabama Capitol Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Montgomery, Ala.
John_Lewis-Remembered_59002 Montgomery police officers salute as the body of Congressman John Lewis arrives at the Alabama Capitol Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Montgomery, Ala.
John_Lewis-Remembered_73016 The body of Congressman John Lewis passes Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church on the way to the Alabama Capitol Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Montgomery, Ala.
John_Lewis_Remembered_85483 Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey places her hand over her heart as the body of Congressman John Lewis arrives to the Alabama Capitol Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Montgomery, Ala.
John_Lewis-Remembered_44691 The family follows close behind as the body of Congressman John Lewis arrives at the Alabama Capitol Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Montgomery, Ala.
John_Lewis-Remembered_00913 U.S. Rep. Terry Sewell, left to right, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed and U.S. Sen. Doug Jones stand near the body of Congressman John Lewis after arrival to the Alabama Capitol Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Montgomery, Ala.
APTOPIX_John_Lewis_Remembered_97877 A man places flower petals on the Edmund Pettus Bridge ahead of Rep. John Lewis' casket crossing during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_28487 Flower petals lie on the Edmund Pettus Bridge ahead of Rep. John Lewis' casket crossing during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_54940 A man places flower petals on the Edmund Pettus Bridge ahead of Rep. John Lewis' casket crossing during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_93797 The casket of Rep. John Lewis moves over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse-drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_62421 The Edmund Pettus Bridge is seen as the horse-drawn carriage carrying the casket of Rep. John Lewis moves during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
John_Lewis_Remembered_23430 The casket of Rep. John Lewis moves over the Edmund Pettus Bridge by horse drawn carriage during a memorial service for Lewis, Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020.
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SELMA, Ala. (AP) — The late U.S. Rep. John Lewis crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, for the final time Sunday as remembrances continue for the civil rights icon.

The bridge became a landmark in the fight for racial justice when Lewis and other civil rights marchers were beaten there 55 years ago on “Bloody Sunday,” a key event that helped galvanize support for the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Lewis returned to Selma each March in commemoration.

Sunday found him crossing alone — instead of arm-in-arm with civil rights and political leaders — after his coffin was loaded atop a horse-drawn wagon that retraced the route through Selma from Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where the 1965 march began.

As the black wagon pulled by a team of dark-colored horses approached the bridge, members of the crowd shouted “Thank you, John Lewis!” and “Good trouble!” the phrase Lewis used to describe his tangles with white authorities during the civil rights movement.

Some crowd members sang the gospel song “Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Stayed on Jesus.” Later, some onlookers sang the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” and other gospel tunes.

Lewis died July 17 at 80, months after he was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. Lewis served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death.

The wagon rolled over a carpet of rose petals, pausing atop the bridge over the Alabama River in the summer heat so family members could walk behind it. On the south side of the bridge, where Lewis was beaten by Alabama state troopers in 1965, family members placed red roses that the carriage rolled over, marking the spot where Lewis spilled his blood and suffered a head injury.

As a military honor guard lifted Lewis’ casket from the horse-drawn wagon into an automobile hearse, Alabama state troopers, including some African American ones, saluted Lewis.

Franz and Ellen Hill drove more that four hours from Monroe, Louisiana, to watch the procession.

Franz Hill, 60, said he remembers, as an African American child, watching news footage of Lewis and other civil rights marchers being beaten by law enforcement officers.

“I had to come back and see John Lewis cross this bridge for the last time,” said Hill. “It’s funny to see the state troopers waiting on him for a whole different reason, to honor and respect him rather than beat the crap out of him.”

There has been a movement to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge after Lewis, but the idea has also faced opposition from those who note that Lewis wasn’t the only activist beaten on the bridge that day.

Lewis’ body was then taken to the Alabama Capitol in the afternoon to lie in repose, retracing the route marchers took in the days after Bloody Sunday to demand justice from Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

Bertha Surles and Edna Goldsmith stood along the highway between Selma and Montgomery to pay their final respects. Both carried signs, reading “Thank you.”

“He fought for equal rights up unto his death,” said Surles, 70.

She was in high school on Bloody Sunday and remembered watching the news footage of Lewis being beaten with horror.

“They didn’t give up and something good came from it. Still need some improvement, but something good came from it.”

Lewis left his family’s farm in Pike County, Alabama, in the 1950s to begin the fight against segregation and racial oppression. He received a hero’s welcome on his final stop in his home state.

After tracing the route of the completed Selma to Montgomery march, an honor guard carried Lewis’ flag-draped casket into the Alabama Capitol, which had served as the first capitol of the Confederacy.

Peggy Wallace Kennedy, the daughter of former segregationist governor Wallace, was among those in the Capitol for the receiving ceremony, along with most of Alabama’s congressional delegation.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey placed a wreath of flowers shaped like the Alabama flag by the casket. U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell placed a wreath shaped like the American flag. His family members, many wearing shirts with the phrase “Good Trouble,” were led first into the Capitol before the public viewing later in the afternoon. A line of people, some carrying umbrellas for shade, waited under the brutal midday Alabama sun to go inside and pay their respects.

After the viewing, his casket was carried out as the song “Amazing Grace” was sung.

Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., spoke at a vigil for Lewis across the street from the Capitol, just a block away from the church her father led during the civil rights movement. Standing in front of large letters, spelling out the word “VOTE,” she recalled the man her father called “the boy from Troy” and her family called Uncle John.

“The most astounding thing about Congressman Lewis being left for dead on that bridge (in 1965) is how he got up both physically and spiritually. When he recovered, he recovered without a trace of bitterness or hostility or without losing hope in our Democracy,” Bernice King said.

She called for today’s young activists to take inspiration from Lewis’ non-violent leadership and for Congress to honor Lewis’ life legacy by restoring and expanding the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“This would be a fitting tribute and a way to honor this non-violent warrior who said the vote is the most powerful tool that we have,” she said.

A series of events began Saturday in Lewis’ hometown of Troy, Alabama, to pay tribute the late congressman and his legacy. He will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol next week before his private funeral Thursday at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once led.

___

This story corrects the spelling of the first name of Franz Hill.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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