Civil rights icon and longtime Georgia congressman John Lewis was remembered Saturday — in the rural Alabama county where his story began — as a humble man who sprang from his family’s farm with a vision that “good trouble” could change the world.
The morning service in the city of Troy in rural Pike County was held at Troy University, where Lewis would often playfully remind the chancellor that he was denied admission in 1957 because he was Black, and where decades later he was awarded an honorary doctorate.
Lewis, who became a civil rights icon and a longtime Georgia congressman, died July 17 at the age of 80.
Saturday morning’s service was titled “The Boy From Troy,” the nickname the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave Lewis at their first meeting in 1958 in Montgomery. King had sent the 18-year-old Lewis a round-trip bus ticket because Lewis was interested in trying to attend the then-all-white university in Troy, just 10 miles from his family’s farm in Pike County.
It was the first of six days of memorials and services.
On Sunday, his flag-draped casket is to be carried across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, where the one-time “Freedom Rider” was among civil rights demonstrators beaten by state troopers in 1965. He also was to lie in repose at the state Capitol in Montgomery. After another memorial at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, where he will lie in state. Funeral services will be held in Georgia. See more at THR.