Obama credited the former Freedom Rider for helping him to become the nation's first Black president.
Former president said Democratic congressman, who died aged 80, ‘loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood’
The "conscience of Congress" was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in December.
John Robert Lewis, the son of sharecroppers who survived a brutal beating by police during a landmark 1965 march in Selma, Alabama, to become a towering figure of the civil rights movement and a longtime US congressman, has died after a six-month battle with cancer. He was 80.
Georgia congressman John Lewis deployed a strategy from his days as a civil rights activist and the viral nature of social media to stage a dramatic sit-in Wednesday on the House floor with his fellow Democrats to force a vote on gun control.
One of Rep. John Lewis’ great achievements was in fusing “the civil rights movement with the anti-war movement,” said MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnnell. “John Lewis paid for progress with his own blood. He was beaten viciously by police more than once for the civil rights movement,” said O’Donnell in his Rewrite segment on Wednesday. “Police brutality was one of the cruel facts of life for civil rights marchers, which is why Martin Luther King Jr. referred to police brutality, those words, police brutality twice in his remarkable speech 50 years ago.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing July 17 to discuss a legislative response to the Supreme Court's wrecking of a key part of the Voting Rights Act. In announcing the hearing, Chairman Pat Leahy, the Vermont Democrat, called the act "a central pillar of the civil rights laws that have helped bring America's ideals closer reality for all Americans."