“This shooting is a tragedy," said the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation in a statement. "It reminds me too much of what happened in the 1930s, '40s and '50s in this country when thousands of people of color were murdered without impunity [sic] simply because their lives were thought to be cheap.

"The death of Trayvon Martin has a chilling effect on black parents and their children, especially their sons," he continued. 

Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations and bus boycotts to protest discrimination against blacks in the 1960s. He was severely beaten and suffered a fractured skull during a famous 1965 march in Selma, Ala.

Martin, 17, was killed in Florida on Feb. 26 by self-identified neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who said he shot him in self-defense. Police said Martin was unarmed and carrying iced tea and a bag of Skittles. 

Police questioned Zimmerman but did not arrest him. A Florida state law, known as the "stand your ground" law, permits citizens to use deadly force when acting in self-defense, but a grand jury is being called to investigate the incident.