NAACP to honor John Lewis
© Greg Nash

The NAACP will honor Rep. John LewisJohn LewisDemocrats see opportunity as states push new voting rules Lobbying world Patagonia to donate million to Georgia voting rights groups MORE (D-Ga.) for his service in Congress and civil rights activism later this month, The Associated Press reported. 

The organization is set to announce Tuesday that it will celebrate the longtime Georgia lawmaker with the Chairman’s Award at its annual arts and entertainment awards show this month.

The award hails people who “create agents of change” and show “exemplary public service,” according to the organization’s website. Previous recipients include former President Obama, filmmaker Tyler Perry and former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderSenate panel dukes it out over voting rights Progressive groups announce M voting rights effort Congress in lockdown: Will we just 'get used to it'? MORE.


NAACP Chairman Leon Russell called the lawmaker a “modern hero in American history” who “dedicated his life to protecting our constitutional rights, fighting injustice and speaking truth to power,” the AP reported.

Lewis is the last surviving member of the “Big Six” civil rights activists, a group that also included Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer, A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins and Whitney Young, the news service noted. He led hundreds of demonstrators across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., in the 1965 Bloody Sunday protest, where he was beaten by police.

Lewis, 79, revealed late last year that he has advanced pancreatic cancer. He received an outpouring of well-wishes from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle after the announcement.