John Lewis, in memoriam

John Lewis’s life and legacy were both mourned and celebrated this week in D.C. On Monday, his casket moved in a procession through the city on a route that covered locations special to his life.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) was the dream of John Lewis, who spent 15 years trying to get Congress to act. It is one of his major legacies. ©Karen Ramsey
The procession going by the west front of the Capitol. ©Karen Ramsey
Police officers salute the procession as it approaches the Capitol. ©Karen Ramsey
The procession turns on to First Street, passing in between the Capitol and the Supreme Court. ©Karen Ramsey
The casket is carried up the steps of the Capitol to the Rotunda. ©Karen Ramsey
Family members pass by the ceremonial guards at the entrance to the Capitol. ©Karen Ramsey

Lying in state

There was a private service for Lewis inside the Capitol Rotunda, followed by a two-day public viewing outside the Capitol on Monday and Tuesday. The casket was set at the top of the Capitol steps, and viewers passed below at the bottom of the steps.

©Karen Ramsey
Saluting the casket as it is brought out to the top of the steps. ©Victoria Pickering
Changing of the guard. ©Karen Ramsey

While the viewers could not go up close to the casket, there were views from the bottom of the steps.

Looking up at the casket. ©Karen Ramsey
Capitol with crescent moon. ©Karen Ramsey

People brought signs and messages to the viewing:

©Victoria Pickering

Fraternity brothers came to pay their respects. Lewis was a member of Phi Beta Sigma since 1974. The fraternity, one of the Black Greek organizations that is part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, has an emphasis on alumni service summed up by their motto “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity.”

©Victoria Pickering

A poster of Lewis was the place where people wanted to take selfies:

1,2: ©Karen Ramsey, 3: ©Victoria Pickering

People in line were required to wear masks, and tried to social distance. The lines were long, snaking up and down First Street and at times also went down East Capitol and behind the Supreme Court.

©Victoria Pickering

Black Lives Matter Plaza

Black Lives Matter Plaza offered tributes to Lewis. He had visited the new street mural on his last public appearance a month before his death. He said, “It is very moving, very moving, very impressive. I think what the people in DC and around the nation are sending a mighty, powerful and strong message to the world that WE WILL GET THERE.”

Vigil for Lewis at Black Lives Matter Plaza. ©Victoria Pickering

Flags at half staff

Flags were flown at half staff on buildings representing all three branches of government – the Capitol, White House, and Supreme Court

Mourning ribbons

Ribbons on the house that he lived in on Capitol Hill.

©Karen Ramsey

Remembering the March on Washington

Lewis was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. The stone is engraved at the Lincoln Memorial where he and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the other speakers stood, and someone had placed flowers there after Lewis’ death.

His powerful legacy of speaking hard truths and fighting for rights for everyone will live on. Rest in power, John Lewis.

Lewis speaking at the Capitol on gun control after the Las Vegas mass shooting, October 2017. ©Victoria Pickering

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