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John Lewis carried across Edmund Pettus Bridge 55 years after Bloody Sunday protest


The casket containing the body of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., comes to a halt after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge during his funeral procession in Selma, Alabama, on Sunday. Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo

July 26 (UPI) — The body of civil rights icon and U.S. House Rep. John Lewis crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday.

A horse-drawn caisson carried the casket across the bridge in Selma, Ala., where Lewis and other demonstrators were beaten by state troopers while protesting for civil rights 55 years ago, leaving him with a fractured skull.

“I was hit in the head by a state trooper with a nightstick,” Lewis recalled decades after he led about 600 protesters across the bridge on the March 7, 1965, protest that came to be known as Bloody Sunday. “I really believe to this day that I saw death.”

On Sunday, Alabama state police accompanied the procession that followed a ceremony in Lewis’ birthplace of Troy, Ala., on Saturday.

“It is poetic justice that this time Alabama state troopers will see John to his safety,” Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., said.

Lewis’ death at the age of 80 two weeks ago has prompted a call to rename the bridge, which currently bears the name of a Confederate General and Klu Klux Klan leader.

“Take his name off that bridge and replace it with a good man — John Lewis, the personification of the goodness of America — rather than honor someone who disrespected individual freedoms,” Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said.

Lewis will lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda for two days this week with an invitation-only arrival ceremony at 1:30 p.m. while the public will be invited to pay their respects 6 p.m to 10 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Lewis served in Georgia’s 5th congressional district, which includes northern Atlanta, for 32 years since Jan. 3, 1987.


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