On Friday, July 17, 2020, Lewis, who represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District for more than three decades in the U.S. House of Representatives, died after being in hospice care in Atlanta. He was 80.
In March 1965, a then-25-year-old Lewis spearheaded a peaceful march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. It became known as “Bloody Sunday,” as Lewis and other marchers were brutally beaten by White state troopers while attempting to cross the bridge.
Edmund Pettus was a known racist who served as a member of the Confederate Army and as a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. His racist legacy continued after his death in 1907 as Selma continues to suffer racial inequality today.
In 2015, President Barack Obama joined Lewis in Selma to pay homage to those who fought oppression on “Bloody Sunday.”
People now want the bridge to be renamed after Lewis. Read some of their responses below.
The Edmund Pettus bridge should be renamed after Representative John Lewis. https://t.co/X4ONQzxmIY
— Evette Dionne (@freeblackgirl) July 18, 2020
The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, is named after a Confederate brigadier general and head of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. It must be renamed for American hero John Lewis, who died today after a lifetime of service to us all.
— John Millea (@MSHSLjohn) July 18, 2020
For some time I have thought that the Edmund Pettus Bridge should be renamed the John Lewis Bridge. No time like the present. Let’s honor John Lewis properly! @repjohnlewis ❤️
— @thewidowviseltear (@thewidowviselt1) July 18, 2020
Hopefully the Edmund Pettus Bridge will be renamed the John Lewis Bridge. It should have happened while he was alive. Why we would have anything named after the grand dragon of the ku klux klan is way beyond me.
— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) July 18, 2020