Rep. John Lewis’ casket is being carried into the Alabama statehouse. His family and friends were seen approaching the statehouse.
Civil rights icon John Lewis remembered in Alabama
By Fernando Alfonso III, CNN
The hearse carrying Rep. John Lewis’ casket has arrived at the Alabama state capitol in Montgomery.
Alabama’s current governor, Kay Ivey, will participate in a short welcoming ceremony and then Lewis’ body will lie in state inside the capitol.
The third-ranking House Democrat, Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina will offer a measure Monday to name the voting rights bill after Rep. John Lewis.
"Congressman Clyburn is offering legislation to rename H.R. 4 The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act tomorrow. The name change is expected to pass by unanimous consent," Hope Derrick, a spokesperson for a Clyburn, said.
Read more details on the bill here.
The death of Rep. John Lewis has renewed calls to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, after the civil rights icon who himself did not see the renaming as necessary.
In 2015, a proposal to rename the bridge failed in the Alabama state legislature, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.
Prior to the legislation, Lewis said the original name of the bridge was "a decision for the people of Alabama to make" and that "you can change the name of the bridge but you cannot change the facts of history," the congressman said in a statement at the time, according to the Advertiser.
Former NAACP president and CEO Cornell William Brooks told CNN today that Lewis' stance on the renaming effort had everything to do with the congressman's "political humility."
"I think it had everything to do with his, not just his political humility, but a moral humility. John Lewis understood profoundly that the sacrifice of Selma was more than the heroic sacrifice of a person but the heroic sacrifice of many people, a community, a race," Brooks said Sunday following Lewis' final march across the bridge.
Some context on the renaming movement: The push to rename the bridge comes amid a national conversation around monuments, names and symbols that celebrate the Confederacy and their place in America today. The bridge’s namesake, Edmund Pettus, was a Confederate general and leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama.
At age 25, Lewis helped lead the 1965 march for voting rights on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, where he and other marchers were met by heavily armed state and local police who brutally beat them with clubs, fracturing Lewis' skull. The day became known as "Bloody Sunday" and galvanized Americans’ support for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
An organization petitioning for the name change, “John Lewis Bridge Project,” said in part in a statement following Lewis’ death: “He dedicated his life to the pursuit of unconditional love and equality for all Americans. His legacy is our legacy, his story is our story.”
The petition on Change.org had more than 518,000 signatures as of Sunday afternoon.
“John Lewis was alive long enough to hear us start this process, unfortunately he is no longer with us and won’t see us finish this. But we will finish this,” the project’s founder Michael Starr Hopkins said in an interview on MSNBC.
Rep. John Lewis will travel by hearse via Highway 80 and through the streets of Montgomery. The route is the same as the original march to Montgomery in 1965, according to a spokesperson for Lewis’ office.
Lewis will arrive at the Alabama state capitol at about 2:15 p.m. ET.
A private, receiving ceremony will take place prior to the doors opening to the public. The wreath laying will include Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Alabama’s Congressional delegation and members of Lewis’ family.
The Armed Forces Bearers have transferred the casket of John Lewis to the hearse to bring the Civil Rights icon from Selma to Montgomery after his final crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
From Selma, the casket is expected to be driven to the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery – the same Alabama Capitol where staunch segregationist George C. Wallace served four terms as governor.
Alabama’s current governor, Republican Kay Ivey, is expected to participate in a short welcoming ceremony and then Lewis’ body will lie in state inside the capitol.
The city will also host an evening vigil in a park honoring the life and legacy of Lewis.
Rep. John Lewis’ flag draped casket, pulled by horse and carriage, has crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge one final time Sunday morning in Selma, Alabama.
As it crossed the rose petal covered bridge alone, the caisson paused at the top of the bridge, and the caisson driver, stood and removed his hat. The driver did this one more time, as the caisson departed the bridge.
For the entire crossing, Selma seemed to fall silent, with the only sound that could be heard were the cicadas.
After crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the last time, family members and Alabama state troopers met the body of the late congressman. Fifty-five years ago, Lewis was also met by state troopers, who were among the law enforcement officers that clashed with protesters on the same bridge.
The six people who met Lewis’ caisson and walked behind him are his son John-Miles Lewis, brothers Freddie Lewis, Sam Lewis, Grant Lewis, sister Rosa Tyner, and Lewis’ chief of staff Michael Collins, according to a spokesman for the family.
Some history: Lewis, who helped lead the 1965 Selma march for voting rights, was nearly killed when he and others on the Edmund Pettus Bridge were met by heavily armed state and local police who attacked them with clubs, fracturing Lewis' skull.
The day became known as "Bloody Sunday" and galvanized Americans' support for the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Watch the moment:
John Lewis’ flag draped casket, pulled by horse and carriage, will be carried across the Edmund Pettus Bridge one final time.
It is expected that Lewis’ caisson will cross along the bridge alone.
The public will not be permitted to stand on the side of the bridge and as the caisson passes the bridge arch, it will pause for approximately 60 seconds.
As it neared the bridge, applause and cheers could be heard from people who’ve lined the street to pay their final respects.
The horse-drawn caisson carrying the casket of Rep. John Lewis has left the Brown AME Church to begin the late Civil Rights icon’s final journey through Selma, Alabama.
The caisson will make its way through the streets of Selma, which have been covered in rose petals, to the foot of the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge. With a military honor guard leading the way, Lewis’ casket, pulled by horse and carriage, will cross the bridge one final time.
The route Lewis’ caisson will take is the same taken on Bloody Sunday in 1965, a spokesperson for the family said.
Historical significance: Throughout March of 1965, a group of demonstrators faced violence as they attempted to march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama, to demand the right to vote for black people.
Since that time, March 7 has been known as "Bloody Sunday."