Civil rights icon Rep. John LewisJohn LewisWith extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Obama, Dave Chappelle nominated in same Grammy category Progressive groups urge Feinstein to back filibuster carve out for voting rights or resign MORE (D-Ga.) endorsed former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE for president during a call with reporters on Monday and implored Americans to "vote like we never ever, ever voted before."
"It is my belief that we need Joe Biden now more than ever before," Lewis said.
"We need his voice. We need his leadership now more than ever before," he continued. "We need someone who is going to get our country on the right side of history, and help save our planet."
Lewis, who led hundreds of demonstrators across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., in the 1965 Bloody Sunday protest, where he was beaten by police, invoked his own background in calling for young Americans to vote in the general election.
"I saw people that were beaten, arrested and jailed," Lewis said. "On March 2, 1965, more than 600 of us were beaten, left bloody, some of us left unconscious."
"I would say to young people it is my hope that you would not be beaten or arrested or jailed," he said. "Let's go out and vote, and help elect a man of conscience."
Lewis, 80, also touched upon Biden's future running mate, saying it would be good to have a woman on the ticket.
"It would be good to have a woman," Lewis said. "It would be good to have a woman who looks like the rest of America."
"We have plenty of able women. Some are black, white, Latino, Asian American, Native American. I think the time is long past for making the White House look like the whole of America," he said.
Biden vowed last month that he would choose a woman as his running mate if he wins the Democratic presidential nomination.
Lewis announced late last year that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.