The flag-draped coffin bearing the body of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. Representative John Lewis was escorted to the Capitol rotunda Monday, where it will lie in state.
Crowds paid homage to Lewis as his motorcade wound through Washington, passing landmarks important to the civil rights movement, including the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial and the newly-painted “Black Lives Matter” street mural near the White House.
“It is an official, personal and very sad honor to welcome our colleague John Lewis back to the Capitol.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in the rotunda, called Lewis “the conscience of the Congress” in front of mourners from both sides of the political aisle - social distancing, in masks, many of them emblazoned with the words “good trouble” – words famously spoken by Lewis and which echoed again through the Capitol on Monday.
“In 1957, I met Rosa Parks at the age of 17. In 1958, at the age of 18, I met Martin Luther King, Jr., and these two individuals inspired me to get in the way, to get in trouble. So, I come here to say to you this morning... you must find a way to get in the way. You must find a way to get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble….”
A Democratic member of Congress from Atlanta since 1987, Lewis endured numerous beatings and arrests in his lifelong fight for racial justice, most notably during the “Bloody Sunday” march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965 in support of voting rights.
He died July 17th at age 80 after battling pancreatic cancer.
A public viewing of Lewis’ casket will be held outside the Capitol to enforce social distancing and will continue through Tuesday.