July 29, 2020
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Civil Rights Icon John Lewis – First Black Lawmaker to Lie Civil Rights Icon John Lewis – First Black Lawmaker to Lie in state in US Capitol Rotunda
Lawmakers and the American public are paying their respects to the civil rights icon and late congressman, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, on Monday as his body lies in state at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
Lewis is the first Black lawmaker to lie in state at the US Capitol Rotunda, according to congressional historians.
Last year, the late Rep. Elijah Cummings made history as the first Black lawmaker to lie in state at the US Capitol when his body was lain in state in Statuary Hall.
Lying in state is a tribute reserved for the most distinguished government officials and military officers, while lying in honor is a distinction given to private citizens. Two African Americans have lain in honor: civil rights icon Rosa Parks and Officer Jacob J. Chestnut Jr., a Capitol Police officer killed in the line of duty.
Lewis’ body is now laying in state following an invitation-only arrival ceremony, earlier Monday. A military honor guard escorted the casket up the steps of the Capitol and carried it into the Rotunda.
While waiting to retrieve the casket, one of the military pallbearers — in Navy dress whites — fainted. They had been standing at attention on the East Front Plaza for nearly an hour. At the time, the temperature was around 94 degrees in Washington, according to the National Weather Service.
Following the ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, a public viewing began outdoors at the Capitol as a safety precaution during the coronavirus pandemic.But neither the virus nor warm weather kept crowds from lining up for a chance to pay their respects to Lewis’ casket.
At one point Monday evening, lines to reach the Capitol stretched for multiple blocks all the way to the Supreme Court building.
Lewis’ casket had arrived at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland earlier in the day on Monday and was brought via motorcade to the US Capitol, passing by a number of Washington, DC, landmarks along the way, including the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
King was a friend and mentor to Lewis, who worked alongside King in the forefront of the historic struggle for racial justices in the 1960s.
The motorcade also stopped at Black Lives Matter Plaza and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser presented the congressman’s son, John Miles Lewis, and other family a Black Lives Matter Plaza street sign. They stood by a mural painted of Lewis on his last ever public appearance on Sunday, June 7 when he visited the plaza and called the words emblazoned in yellow paint on the street, “a powerful work of art.”
–Continue reading original source article at cnn.com.