John Lewis To Be Given A Remarkable Passage With Several Commemorations In Washington, Alabama, And Georgia

by Duke Magazine

The body of the late congressman and Civil Rights icon John Lewis will be lying in state at the U.S. Capitol, an honor reserved for revered statesmen and women and military leaders. The U.S. congressman passed way on July 18 after a protracted pancreatic cancer.

CNN reported on Thursday (July 23), Lewis will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda during an invitation only ceremony on Monday beginning at 1:30 p.m.. His body will then be moved to the East Front Steps of the Capitol for public viewing starting at 6 p.m.. Mourners will file past the casket in the Capitol’s East Plaza.

Lewis’ body will be brought to the Capitol by a motorcade from Joint Base Andrews and will pass by several significant locations including Washington D.C.’s Black Lives Matter Plaza, which is where the congressman last appeared publicly.

Before Lewis’ body arrives in Washington, several events for mourners will take place in his home state of Alabama, Atlanta station WSB-TV reports.

On Saturday (July 25), a ceremony celebrating the “Boy From Troy” will take place at Trojan Arena in Troy, Alabama, which is open to the public. Afterward, the body will lie in repose at the location. That evening, a memorial at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church will take place and afterward, the body will lie in repose there as well.

On Sunday (July 26), Lewis body will travel accompanied by a military honor guard across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. The bridge was the site of a series of crucial voting rights marches in which he was involved in 1965. In the first, he was beaten bloody by Alabama troopers.

After the ceremonial crossing, the body will lie in state at the Alabama State Capitol in a ceremony open to the public. 

On Wednesday (July 29) the body will move from Washington to Georgia, where Lewis served as a U.S. Representative. A special ceremony will take place in Atlanta at the State Capitol and the body will lie in state there. That evening Phi Beta Sigma, Lewis fraternity, will perform an Omega Ceremony for him, a ritual reserved for departed members of the organization.

Finally, on Thursday (July 30), funeral services will take place beginning at 11 a.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Sanctuary. The event is not open to the public. He will be buried at the historic South-View Cemetery in Atlanta.

Family members are encouraging the public to participate in the events, which they are dubbing “John Lewis Virtual Love Event” by watching through livestreams on various online platforms. They are also asking the public to place a blue or purple ribbon on their front doors or in their front yards to honor Lewis.

In addition to the public honors, a Virginia high school will be renamed this fall for Lewis. A school board in Fairfax County voted to rename Robert E. Lee High School to John R. Lewis High School. 

“Last night we heard from so many community members, students, and alumni about the amazing things that John Lewis did during his life. And I think many people would be proud to have that as the name of their school. I think it would be an honor for the community as well as I hope, the congressman’s family,” School Board Member Tamara Derenak Kaufax told local station WJLA.

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