In a gripping act of symbolism that characterized his most famous act of valor, the late legendary Congressman Lewis was carried over the bridge in a horse-drawn carriage and his casket was covered with the American flag.
The tiny, impoverished town of Selma, Alabama, was the site of one of the most pivotal moments in American history. Lewis suffered a concussion and skull fracture after local and state police clobbered him and the throng of Black marchers during what became known as “Bloody Sunday” during the apex of the Civil Rights Movement.
Just two weeks after his skull was cracked, however, Lewis returned to the site where his blood was spilled to take part in the march from Selma to Montgomery. Because of that courageous act by Lewis, along with Dr. Martin Luther King and many others, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law.
Tens of thousands of mourners lined both ends of the massive bridge that offsets the relatively small and obscure town in rural Alabama, about 50 miles east of Montgomery. The casket will return lie in state at the capital in Montgomery before moving on to Atlanta where mourners will be able to commemorate his transcendent life during services at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Just five years ago, President Barack Obama commemorated the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma by honoring Lewis for his leadership role in getting the Voting Rights Act passed.