Legacy of Rep. John Lewis honored at memorial

Emma Daniel


Rep. John Lewis’s life was honored at a memorial service on Saturday, where he lied in rest before making one last trip from Selma to Montgomery.

Troy University was the first stop of six memorials before Lewis is honored at the Capitol.

Lewis passed away at 80 years old on July 17 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

“Today truly is a time to welcome home the native son of Pike County,” said Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. “We’re very proud that Martin Luther King put that label ‘Boy from Troy’ on Congressman Lewis so many years ago.”

In 1957, Lewis was denied admission into Troy State College, but Troy had the “good sense” to award Lewis an honorary doctorate 32 years later, Hawkins said.

Most of Lewis’s family remember him as “Robert.”

“He always wanted to improve the lives of others without any concern for himself,” said Lewis’s sister, Rosa Mae Tyner. “He lived with a never-ending desire to help others.”

His siblings recalled their mother telling Lewis not to get in any trouble, but they all stressed the importance of “good trouble”—seeing a need for change and acting to make it happen.

Mayor Jason Reeves welcomed John Lewis back home, calling him “a man of action.”

Lewis met Rosa Parks when he was 17 years old. Troy worked with Parks to build the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, on the very site where she was arrested, and Lewis eventually knew the museum so well he could give tours just as well as tour guides, Hawkins said.

Hawkins also announced that the yearly February leadership conference would be renamed the Congressman John Lewis Leadership Conference in his honor.


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