'Selma' actor who portrayed Lewis: 'I remember how small I felt trying to fill your shoes'
© Twitter @realstephj

Stephan James, the actor who played civil rights hero Rep. John LewisJohn LewisPelosi orders Capitol flags at half-staff to honor Ginsburg Kamala Harris: Black Americans have been 'disproportionately harmed' by Trump LWCF modernization: Restoring the promise MORE (D-Ga.) in the movie "Selma," honored the longtime congressman on Saturday following his death.

“Dear John, I remember how small I felt trying to fill your shoes. You were truly a light like no other. I am forever changed having known you. So is the world,” James wrote on Twitter. “Thank you for your life. Thank you for your legacy.”

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Lewis died on Friday at the age of 80, leaving behind a longstanding legacy of activism and public service.

He was just 25 years old when he and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Hosea Williams led about 600 people planning to march 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery to advocate for expanded voting rights for African Americans. But they were met on the Edmund Pettus Bridge by state troopers who demanded that the marchers leave.

When they refused, the troopers launched violent attacks armed with bullwhips, tear gas and nightsticks and charged at the marchers with their horses. A state trooper beat Lewis with a nightstick so severely that it caused a skull fracture.

James portrayed Lewis in the 2014 historical drama “Selma,” directed by Ava DuVernay. The critically-acclaimed film was nominated for “Best Picture” and won “Best Original Song” at the Academy Awards.

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“Thank you for your care and kindness, your advice and understanding,” DuVernay wrote in a Twitter tribute. “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.”

A documentary about the lawmaker was released by Magnolia Pictures this year entitled “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” a nod to his slogan referring to his nonviolent activism and arrests.

Tulsa, Okla., theaters screened the documentary last month as part of a a “peaceful protest” against President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE’s planned campaign rally.

The rally was originally scheduled for Juneteenth,  the holiday marking the final emancipation of slaves in Texas, but the Trump campaign pushed it back after heavy criticism.