Last modified on November 15, 2020, at 23:34

John Lewis (Georgia politician)

John Lewis
Lewis john.jpg
Former U.S. Representative from Georgia's 5th Congressional District
From: January 3, 1987 – July 17, 2020
Predecessor Wyche Fowler
Successor Nikema Williams
Party Democrat
Spouse(s) Lillian Miles (died 2012)
Religion Baptist[1]

John Robert Lewis, (February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020)[2] born in Troy, Alabama, was a liberal Democrat Congressman from Georgia's 5th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lewis gained national fame as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, playing prominent roles in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches and community organizations. First elected to the house in 1986, his district covers most of Atlanta. He was the second African American to represent Georgia in Congress since Reconstruction. Since his district is heavily Democratic, he had faced no significant opposition in over 20 years in Congress. In the Bush years he was a strong critic of the War in Iraq and called for the impeachment of President George W. Bush.[3]

Lewis sparked controversy in the 2008 presidential election when he compared Republican candidate John McCain to 1960s segregationist George Wallace.

"During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama."[4]

McCain responded by saying, "The notion that legitimate criticism of Senator Obama's record and positions could be compared to Governor George Wallace, his segregationist policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place in this campaign."[5]

During the Ferguson Obama riots Lewis called for President Obama "to declare martial law," warning him, "If you fail to act, the fires of frustration and discontent will continue to burn, not only in Ferguson, Missouri, but all across America."[6]


  1. Religious affiliation of members of 116th Congress
  2. Civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis dies