Rep. John Lewis honored during funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church

After nearly a week-long salute to the man known for causing “good trouble”, the late Rep. John Lewis will be laid to rest Thursday in Atlanta. Lewis died the evening of July 17 after a 6-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80.

Former President Barack Obama delivered a eulogy at the funeral for the late Rep. John Lewis on Thursday morning, FOX News reports.

Reports: Obama, Bush to attend funeral for Rep. John Lewis

The funeral program is listed below (times were estimated before the service):

11 am- Call to Celebration and Welcome Remarks, Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, Senior Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church

11:02 am- Scriptures – Psalm 23, I Corinthians 13, Hydreca Lewis Brewster, Niece; Rosalynn King, Niece

11:07 am- Prayer, Rev. Dr. Bernice King, CEO, The King Center

11:12 am- Selection – Only What You Do for Christ Will Last, Jennifer Holliday

11:17 am- Poem – Invictus, Tybre Faw

11:21 am- Tribute 1, George W. Bush, 43rd U.S. President

11:26 am- Tribute 2, William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd U.S. President

11:31 am- Tribute 3, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

11:36 am- Tribute 4, James M. Lawson, Activist/Nonviolent Teacher

11:41 am- Selection – If I Can Help Somebody, Kathleen J. Bertrand

11:45 am- Tributes 5, Xernona Clayton, Founder, Trumpet Foundation

11:50 am- Tribute 6, William Craig Campbell, Former Mayor, City of Atlanta

11:53 am- Tribute 7, Jamila Thompson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman  Lewis

11:56 pm- Tribute 8, Sheila Lewis O’Brien, Niece

12:00 pm- Selection- Take My Hand, Precious Lord, Jennifer Holliday

12:04 pm- Eulogy, Barack Hussein Obama II, 44th U.S. President

12:24 pm- Selection – Good Trouble/Stand, Bebe Winans and Marin Winans

12:28 pm- Benediction, Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, Senior Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church

12:30 pm- Recessional – Happy, The Family

The funeral and final farewell to the civil rights activist and lawmaker took place at Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, ending a week of mourning stretching from Atlanta to Troy to Selma to D.C. and lying in state under the Capitol Rotunda in D.C., the Alabama Capitol, and the Gold Dome in Georgia.

The last of the men considered part of the "Big Six" of civil rights leaders came from humble beginnings.

Lewis was born on February 21, 1940, to Willie Mae and Eddie Lewis, sharecroppers just outside of Troy, Alabama. He was the third of 10 children. At 15, Lewis answered a call to service, believing it was his destiny to become a preacher, he gave his first sermon. It wasn’t long after Lewis learned the true nature of segregation in the South in which he grew up. He was inspired by King and followed the Montgomery bus boycott closely.

While working and learning to become an ordained Baptist minister, he also became a student of the nonviolence philosophy putting it to practice as part of the Nashville Student Movement.


A mug shot of civil rights activist and politician John Lewis, following his arrest in Jackson, Mississippi for using a restroom reserved for "White" people during the Freedom Ride demonstration against racial segregation on May 24, 1961. ((Photo by Kypros/Getty Images))

Lewis became one of the 13 original Freedom Riders, causing some of that “good trouble” across the South. During that time, he was beaten by angry mobs in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and imprisoned for his actions against segregation in Jackson, Mississippi.

He eventually was elected chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee where he worked to organize the March on Washington and expand the civil rights movement through non-violence.

On March 7, 1965, Lewis and fellow activist Hosea Williams led over 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. On the other side, in Selma Alabama State Troopers were waiting with orders to disperse the crowd. When Lewis and the crowd stopped to pray, tear gas was fired and troopers charged using nightsticks. The incident would become known as Bloody Sunday. Lewis was left with a fractured skull and scares he would carry for the rest of his life.


A horse drawn carriage carrying the body of civil rights icon John Lewis crosses the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. (Lynsey Weatherspoon/Getty Images)

It was also on that same bridge this past weekend, Lewis’ body crossed one last time, riding on a horse-drawn caisson and rolling slowly over red rose petals, a symbol of the blood spilled there.

In the late 60s and 70s, Lewis served in the Southern Regional Council and then accepted a position in the administration of former President Jimmy Carter.

In 1981, he was elected to the Atlanta City Council, where he served for five years until running for Georgia's 5th Congressional District where he was re-elected 16 times.

08c78689-Voting Rights

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., speaks during a news conference in the Capitol on the Voting Rights Advancement Act on Friday, December 6, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

During his tenure in Congress, Lewis's faith and the doctrine of nonviolence drove many of his decision. He opposed most military interventions and called his approval authorization for military force to find the perpetrators of 9/11 one of his toughest votes. He also used his position to further the cause of civil rights and the voting rights of all Americans.

Lewis died just hours after his friend and fellow activist, C.T. Vivian.

Lewis is proceeded in death by his wife Lillian who passed on December 31, 2012. He is survived by his son John-Miles Lewis.

This past Saturday, "The Boy from Troy" was honored at the Trojan Arena at Troy University near where he grew up before being brought to Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma, which served as the headquarters for the Bloody Sunday march.

After his body crossed to Selma for the last time, he was received at the Alabama Capitol to lie in state until Monday when his body was taken to Washington, D.C.

While Lewis is not the first Black lawmaker to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, he was the first to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.

His body was then brought back to Georgia where he would lie in state under the Gold Dome the day prior to his funeral.


Georgia Rep. John Lewis addresses the crowd during an election watch party for Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on November 6, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Abrams is in a tight race against Republican candidate Brian Kemp. (Photo by Jess

Lewis' family released the following statement:

"The Lewis family is deeply appreciative of the outpouring of support demonstrated by the American people, as they mourn the loss of their father, brother and uncle. They wish that they could hug and thank each and every person, just as Rep. Lewis would stay to shake every hand no matter how long it took.

"Even under normal circumstances, there simply is not a church big enough to hold all the people who knew and loved Rep.Lewis, but these difficult times make it especially challenging to accommodate everyone who wants to attend his services  Though Ebenezer Baptist Church can fit a sizable number of people under ordinary circumstances, due to precautions necessary during the pandemic, the church will only accommodate 240 people in total, due to social distancing precautions.  Half of those seats will be occupied by Rep. Lewis’s family and relatives, as it should be, and by the time congressional dignitaries and other friends are added, it leaves very little wiggle room to offer additional participants a chance to attend.

“ Given the seriousness of the pandemic, the Lewis family wants people to protect their health, and encourages people who want to attend to consider organizing virtual John Lewis  Love events in their homes to watch his funeral services tomorrow. They also encourage well-wishers to tie a blue or purple ribbon on their front doors or in their front yards to commemorate his life and signal that your household is part of the streaming community.  Thank you for your patience and understanding and for your devotion to Rep. Lewis. ” 

They are also asked to tie blue and purple ribbons on front doors and yards to remember his life. Blue is the color of his fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma, and purple for pancreatic cancer.