The body of Georgia Rep. John Lewis on Sunday crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where he was beaten by state troopers 55 years ago as he helped lead a historic march for voting rights.
The casket of the revered civil rights icon was transported across the bridge in a horse-drawn carriage over a scattering of rose petals as part of a six-day memorial tribute to honor Lewis, who died on July 17 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80.
On March 7, 1965, Lewis, then 25, helped to lead around 600 civil rights activists across the Edmund Pettus Bridge as part of a historic protest march from Selma to Montgomery in demand of full voting rights for Black Americans.
Alabama state troopers, using clubs and tear gas, beat up hundreds of civil rights activists during the march. Lewis suffered a fractured skull, among other injuries, during what came to be known as "Bloody Sunday."
In later years, Lewis led an annual march across the bridge with current and former presidents from both parties. On the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, Lewis crossed the bridge with Barack Obama, the country's first Black president.
Following his death, there have been renewed calls to rename the bridge after Lewis. It is currently named after a Confederate general and Klu Klux Klan member.
The six-day celebration to honor Lewis's legacy comes amid nationwide protests against police brutality after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis.
On Sunday, crowds of people in Selma paid their respects as the carriage carrying Lewis's body crossed the bridge strewn with rose petals in what organizers called "The Final Crossing."
"Crossing one more time today," wrote Bernice King, the daughter of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., on Twitter. "Thank you, Uncle John."
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