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John Lewis (civil rights leader) facts for kids

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John Lewis
John Lewis-2006 (cropped).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1987 – July 17, 2020
Preceded by Wyche Fowler
Succeeded by Vacant
3rd Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
In office
June 1963 – May 1966
Preceded by Charles McDew
Succeeded by Kwame Ture
Personal details
John Robert Lewis

(1940-02-21)February 21, 1940
Troy, Alabama, U.S.
Died July 17, 2020(2020-07-17) (aged 80)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Lillian Miles
(m. 1968; died 2012)
Children 1
Education American Baptist College (BA)
Fisk University (BA)

John Robert Lewis (February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020) was an American politician and civil rights leader. He was the U.S. Representative for GA's 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death in 2020. He was the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. He was a member of the Democratic Party.

Lewis, who as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was one of the "Big Six" leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington.

Early Life

John Lewis was born in 1940 in Troy, Alabama to Eddie Lewis and Willie Mae Lewis (née Carter), who were sharecroppers in Pike County, Alabama. Sharecroppers were people who were allowed to rent a part of a piece of land for return of a share of the crops they harvested. He was the third of ten children.

He experienced segregation as a young boy in the Southern United States. When he went to visit relatives in the Northern US, he learned that places there were integrated and served Black people and white people equally.

Personal Life

Lewis married Lilian Miles in 1968. They had a son, John-Miles. Lillian died on December 31, 2012.


In December 2019, Lewis was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. He died in Atlanta, Georgia on July 17, 2020 from the disease, aged 80.

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