(UPDATED with more messages on the death of Rep. John Lewis) Presidents, Oscar nominees, potential Vice-Presidential nominees, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and other admirers tonight mourned the death of Rep. John Lewis. They also celebrated the tireless fight for justice that the civil rights icon who was later in life called the “conscience of Congress” waged until the very end.
“I first met John when I was in law school, and I told him then that he was one of my heroes,” Barack Obama poignantly wrote tonight after Rep. Lewis’ death on Friday evening was made public.
“Years later, when I was elected a U.S. Senator, I told him that I stood on his shoulders,” the 44th POTUS added. “When I was elected President of the United States, I hugged him on the inauguration stand before I was sworn in and told him I was only there because of the sacrifices he made. And through all those years, he never stopped providing wisdom and encouragement to me and Michelle and our family. We will miss him dearly.”
Recently profiled in the Dawn Porter directed documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble, the long serving Georgia Congressman who helped organize the historic 1963 March on Washington passed away at the age of 80 after a nearly year long battle with cancer. Lewis’ death comes just hours after fellow civil right veteran Rev. C.T. Vivian also passed away on Friday at the age of 95.
Following news of Rep Lewis’ death in a statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, social media burned in remembrance from all aspects of American life. They praised a man born the son of sharecroppers who went on to give blood on a bridge in Selma and be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the nation’s first African-American Commender-in-chief:
Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did:https://t.co/KbVfYt5CeQ
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 18, 2020
You did, indeed, fight the good fight and get into a lot of good trouble.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) July 18, 2020
Thank you for your care and kindness, your advice and understanding. Will never forget what you taught me and what you challenged me to be. Better. Stronger. Bolder. Braver. God bless you, Ancestor John Robert Lewis of Troy, Alabama. Run into His arms. https://t.co/DTUEw7cJzX
Hillary and I were blessed by his friendship, support and wise counsel. We’ll miss him so much, but we’ll always be grateful that he lived to see a new generation of Americans take to the streets in search of his long sought “beloved community.” https://t.co/gKDuLmUMLQ
View this post on Instagram
It has been the honor of my life to spend the last two years getting to know this kind and joyful man. His words, never give up, never give in, will stay with me forever. My deepest sympathies to his family and staff who loved him so much. I am certain he is smiling and marching and getting in good trouble in heaven. He is the angel heaven deserves.
As utterly heartbreaking as today is, I’m granting myself a bit of solace by imagining the combined welcome party for both Reverend C.T. Vivian and Representative John Lewis on the other side.
And my friends, that is a party.
— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) July 18, 2020
John Lewis was an icon who fought with every ounce of his being to advance the cause of civil rights for all Americans. I’m devastated for his family, friends, staff—and all those whose lives he touched.
God has welcomed @repjohnlewis home. Defender of justice. Champion of right. Our conscience, he was a griot of this modern age, one who saw its hatred but fought ever towards the light. And never once did he begrudge sharing its beauty. I loved him & will miss him. #JohnLewis pic.twitter.com/XNbiEsClQl
Rest in Heavenly peace Mr. John Lewis. Thank you for your service, for your committment to change and your courage. You did great with your time on this earth. “Goodnight sweet Prince. May flights of angels sing the to thy rest.” And…pour some blessings on us down here 🙏🏿❤️ pic.twitter.com/9ZBSnLYmMa
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) July 18, 2020
Rest In Peace, John Lewis. pic.twitter.com/0ZB0FqnKQj
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) July 18, 2020
We have lost an American hero. John Lewis guided us toward a more righteous world. He marched in Selma, he marched on Washington—he marched for us all. His life’s work shaped our history and his legacy inspires us to continue the march for racial equity and justice. pic.twitter.com/WqW11757Io
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) July 18, 2020
“History will not be kind to us. So you have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate, to speak up, speak out and get in good trouble. You can do it. You must do it. Not just for yourselves but for generations yet unborn.” – John Lewis#RIPJohnLewis pic.twitter.com/Xl6uWB6Ty8
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) July 18, 2020
.@RepJohnLewis was a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation. Every day of his life was dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to all. pic.twitter.com/xMbfAUhLUv
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 18, 2020
Few in our nation’s history did more to wrest America towards a horizon of justice than John Lewis. He was a truth teller, statesman, and patriot in the most complete sense of the word. His courage and grace are an example in our troubled times. May he Rest in Peace.
— Laurene Powell Jobs (@laurenepowell) July 18, 2020
Oh how we will mourn your loss and yet strive to continue your fight for justice for us all! “We must never, ever give up! We must be brave,bold,courageous” John Lewis pic.twitter.com/bbxmQODmf1
— Angela Bassett (@ImAngelaBassett) July 18, 2020
And on the same day, we lose another American hero, Congressman John Lewis. Beating within an inch of his life on Bloody Sunday in Selma Alabama’65. There is blood on that ballot box that he shed to protect our rights for generations to come. He changed America. Rest In Peace pic.twitter.com/MXrOHBUUFU
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) July 18, 2020
What A Day… now, John Lewis. Sometimes it’s Good to meet a Hero… I was blessed every time we met. RI POWER, Sir.#thestrugglecontinues#BLM#VOTE
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) July 18, 2020
A giant in the shaping of our country, this America.
When we lose a man like him, every time I find myself sitting quietly and tears for my country come forward.
A man with the greatness of John Lewis wasn’t just born, he built himself into the man he was for us. pic.twitter.com/9p3sJkreYg
— Vincent D’Onofrio (@vincentdonofrio) July 18, 2020
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) July 18, 2020
Good trouble. From here to November and beyond, good trouble. Link arms, y’all. pic.twitter.com/oanjKAS0fy
— George Wallace (@MrGeorgeWallace) July 18, 2020
From freedom rides to a bridge in Selma, from a March on Washington to the halls of Congress, from despair to hope:
John Lewis personified the never-ending pursuit of freedom and the everlasting struggle for a union made more perfect — by citizens willing to work for it.
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) July 18, 2020
As I said in an interview back in March, some of John Lewis’s last words to me were, “Keep the fight going.” & that’s what we must do. We must all become the conscience of the nation & Congress now & challenge them to rise to this moment. & when necessary, get into good trouble. pic.twitter.com/4C58pXCn9d
— Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (@RevDrBarber) July 18, 2020
John Lewis was the embodiment of courage, dignity and human service. He lived his life fighting for others and his achievements were monumental. UTA honors the extraordinary life of this American hero and joins those around the world in mourning his passing. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/H5LOy3ooKq
— UTA (@unitedtalent) July 18, 2020
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) July 18, 2020
Rest in power. And the Pettus Bridge needs a new name. https://t.co/uhf8VrU2HR
— David Simon (@AoDespair) July 18, 2020
No words can capture the scale of this loss — especially in this moment, when we needed him more than ever. https://t.co/juMZ8uN5z6
— John Heilemann (@jheil) July 18, 2020
80 years old, while fighting pancreatic cancer, protesting on Black Lives Matter Plaza in DC. Fighting for justice until the very end. Rest in Power John Lewis. We will be forever grateful. @repjohnlewis pic.twitter.com/dyC7uIQK8p
— Angela J. Davis (@angelajdavis) July 18, 2020
Tonight is good a night as ever to check out @dawnporterm’s great documentary #GoodTrouble about the life of Rep. John Lewis which was recently released on Video On Demand and in theaters. Rest in power King ✊🏾🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/t55B5q6hKE
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) July 18, 2020