John Lewis Funeral Plans Still in the Works

July 20, 2020by Ernie Suggs, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (TNS)
U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) holds a candle during an event to address President Donald Trump's executive orders on January 30, 2017, in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

ATLANTA — At a family news conference on Sunday morning, John Lewis’ youngest brother, Henry Grant Lewis, did not announce any funeral arrangements, which are expected to take place across Washington, D.C., Atlanta and his place of birth, Troy, Alabama.

“While we grieved the loss of this legend, we are blessed to know that he touched so many people on every corner of the globe,” Henry Grant Lewis said.

As Henry Grant Lewis spoke, he was flanked by two of his brothers, Freddie and Samuel Lewis; his son Jerrick Lewis; and John Lewis’ son, John-Miles Lewis. All were wearing masks, reflecting how the coronavirus pandemic will affect services for John Lewis.

Lewis died Friday night after a bout with cancer. Only hours earlier, Lewis’ civil rights contemporary C.T. Vivian died at the age of 95.

Vivian’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday at Providence Missionary Baptist Church at 11 a.m.

While no funeral arrangements for Lewis have been announced, the magnitude of who he was and where he lived is likely to play a role.

He is a child of Alabama, where he was born and raised and where most of his family still lives.

He has lived in Atlanta since 1963, where he served on the Atlanta City Council and built a home with his late wife, Lillian, and their son.

And since 1986, he has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, rising as one of the nation’s most influential lawmakers, earning a Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama.

Last October, Lewis’ colleague Rep. Elijah Cummings became the first African American lawmaker to lie in state in the Capitol, an honor bestowed to only a few dozen statesmen, presidents and military leaders throughout U.S. history.

Under orders from President Donald Trump, flags at the White House were flown at half-staff for part of Saturday.

On Sunday, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass said flags should remain lowered until Lewis is laid to rest.

“My concern — and I’m glad that the president’s tweet was appropriate after mine (on Saturday) — but I think that we need to have the flags at half-mast until he is laid to rest,” Bass, D-Calif., said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “And I believe that his legacy will live on.”

The city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia have both ordered flags to fly at half-staff until Lewis is buried.

———

©2020 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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