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LIVE: Rep. John Lewis lies in state at US Capitol

Rep. John Lewis to lie in state at US Capitol later today
Posted at 7:24 AM, Jul 27, 2020

Congress is currently honoring one of its own — longtime Georgia representative and Civil Rights leader John Lewis.

Lewis' body was flown from Alabama to Washington, D.C. on Monday, and is currently lying in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Members of the House of Representatives and Senate will have a chance to pay their respects before a public viewing takes place this evening. Among those who paid tribute to Lewis with speeches were Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

CNN reports that the public viewing will take place outdoors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, Lewis' body made a final trip over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where half a century ago, he led several marches for voting rights. The first of those marches became known as "Bloody Sunday," as Lewis and other civil rights activists were met with force from state and local police as they crossed the bridge. The marches sparked a national conversation about voting rights for Black people, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed a few months later.

Following events in Washington, Lewis' body will return to Georgia — the state he represented in Congress for more than 30 years. Lewis' funeral will take place on Thursday at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta — the same church that was formerly led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A public viewing at the Capitol building is one of the highest honors a Representative, a Senator or elected official can receive upon their death. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a fellow Civil Rights leader, and Congressman leader, was the last person to receive the honor upon his death in 2019. President George H.W. Bush and Sen. John McCain have also had public memorials at the Capitol in recent years.

Lewis died on July 17 after a six-month battle with cancer.