Born: February 21, 1940
Birthplace: Troy, AL
Died: July 17, 2020
Zodiac Sign: Pisces
John Robert Lewis was an American politician and civil rights leader. He is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, serving in his 17th term in the House, having served since 1987, and is the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. His district includes the northern three-fourths of Atlanta. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
Lewis, who as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was one of the "Big Six" leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington, played many key roles in the Civil Rights Movement and its actions to end legalized racial segregation in the United States. He is a member of the Democratic Party leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives and has served as a Chief Deputy Whip since 1991 and Senior Chief Deputy Whip since 2003.
Lewis has been awarded many honorary degrees and is the recipient of numerous awards from eminent national and international institutions, including the highest civilian honor of the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Lewis met Lillian Miles at a New Year's Eve party hosted by Xernona Clayton. They married in 1968. Together, they had one son, named John-Miles. Lillian died on December 31, 2012.
Lewis was a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.
On December 29, 2019, Lewis announced that he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. He remained in the Washington D.C. area for his treatment.
On July 17, 2020, Lewis died at the age of 80 after a six-month battle with the disease in Atlanta, on the same day as his friend and fellow civil rights activist C.T. Vivian. Lewis had been the final surviving "Big Six" civil rights icon.