Representative John Lewis, Civil Rights Activist, Succumbs to Cancer

Representative John Lewis, Civil Rights Activist, Succumbs to Cancer

Tributes and honors are being paid to the late Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights icon who died last week.

According to CNN, the House of Representatives will have a moment of silence for Lewis Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

"He was just remarkable every single day," Pelosi told CBS. "He, again, challenged our conscience in so many ways in terms of equality and justice."

Other memorial service details are forthcoming, Lewis’ family has said.

Lewis died Friday after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80.

Lewis had served as the U.S. representative for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District for more than 30 years. He was part of lunch counter sit-ins, the work of Freedom Riders and a keynote speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. On “Bloody Sunday” in 1965, during a protest march in Alabama, police attacked Lewis and other marchers with clubs, fracturing his skull.

"Sometimes when I look back and think about it, how did we do what we did? How did we succeed? We didn't have a website. We didn't have a cellular telephone," Lewis had said of the civil rights movement.

"But I felt when we were sitting in at those lunch counter stools, or going on the Freedom Ride, or marching from Selma to Montgomery, there was a power and a force. God Almighty was there with us."

In 1981, Lewis was elected to the Atlanta city council and then to Congress six years later. In Congress, he worked to help younger generations with education and health care access.

In 2011, Lewis received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from America’s first Black president, Barack Obama.

"He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise. And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example," Obama said.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Pool

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.