John Robert Lewis was the youngest of the ‘big six’ leaders of civil rights organizations behind the 1963 March on Washington. When he died on July 17 at the age of 80, he was the last. Members of the public have an opportunity to pay their respects as the civil rights leader and Representative of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District will lie in state at the Capitol Monday and Tuesday.
At 21 Lewis rode the Freedom Rides, sitting in bus seats reserved for whites to challenge segregation. He led the Student Non-violent Co-ordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1961 to 1966, and was the youngest speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963.
Two years later, he was part of the famous Selma to Montgomery marches in Alabama, aimed at securing voting rights. He was beaten down in 1965 as protesters attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
Lewis was elected to Congress as a Democrat in 1986 and was re-elected at every opportunity until his death from pancreatic cancer. Lewis will lie in state under the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Monday before returning home to Georgia to be laid to rest.
A motorcade procession will pass by notable landmarks on the way to the Capitol Monday. The motorcade is expected to pass Black Lives Matter Plaza, the site where Lewis made his last public appearance June 7 with Mayor Muriel Bowser (D).
We’ve walked this path before, and will continue marching on, hand in hand, elevating our voices, until justice and peace prevail.
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) June 7, 2020
Lewis’s casket will be placed at the top of the center steps on the East Front of the Capitol to allow the public to pay their respects Monday from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Tuesday from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
The Washington Post reported that social distancing will be enforced and mourners will be required to wear masks. A private ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m., the report added.
On Wednesday, the body of Representative Lewis will depart the U.S. Capitol for the Georgia State Capitol where he will lie in state.
Interment will be at South-View Cemetery following a private celebration of life at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Road Closures, Police Presence
On Monday, July 27, there will be road closures and increased police activity related to these events between approximately 11:30 am and 1:00 pm Monday, July 27 at the following locations:
- Suitland Parkway
- I-695 and I-395
- Maine Avenue SW
- Raoul Wallenberg Place SW
- Independence Avenue SW from 14th Street to Lincoln Memorial Circle
- 23rd Street from Lincoln Memorial to Constitution Avenue NW
- Constitution Avenue from 23rd Street to Third Street NE
- 17th Street from Constitution Avenue to K Street NW
- H Street from 17th to 15th Street NW
- 15th Street from Constitution Avenue to K Street, NW
- through the 12th Street Tunnel
- Pennsylvania Avenue from 15th Street to Third Street NW
- Third Street from Constitution Avenue to Independence Avenue SW
- Independence Avenue from Third Street SW to Second Street, SE
- Second Street SE from Independence Avenue to Constitution Avenue NW
Learn more about road closures and police activity in the District due to the events honoring Rep. John Lewis by visiting mpdc.dc.gov/release/traffic-advisory-funeral-services-united-states-representative-john-lewis