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John Lewis's 7-year-old great nephew calls the civil rights icon 'my hero'

John Lewis's 7-year-old great nephew calls the civil rights icon 'my hero'
© Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images

Late Rep. John LewisJohn LewisDemocrats see opportunity as states push new voting rules Lobbying world Patagonia to donate million to Georgia voting rights groups MORE's (D-Ga.) 7-year-old great nephew called the civil rights leader his hero at a memorial service in the longtime congressman's hometown of Troy, Ala., Saturday.

"Congressman John Lewis was my uncle and my hero. And it's up to us to keep his legacy alive," Jaxson Lewis Brewster, said during the congressman's memorial service at Troy University.

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Lewis, a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December of 2019. He passed away July 17 this year.

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Lewis was born to sharecroppers in Troy in 1940, and attended segregated schools. He became heavily involved in public activism and was inspired by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, and was the youngest person to give a speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. 

The memorial for Lewis on Saturday kickstarted a six-day round of celebrations and memorials marking the legacy of the 17-term Georgia representative.

On Sunday, Lewis will be carried across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, commemorating the 1972 "Bloody Sunday" massacre, where he was severely beaten by police in Selma, Ala., prompting Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act later that year.

Speaker of the House Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhite House races clock to beat GOP attacks Sunday shows - Infrastructure dominates Liz Cheney says allegations against Gaetz are 'sickening,' refuses to say if he should resign MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure 100 business executives discuss how to combat new voting rules: report Arkansas governor says 'divisive' Trump attacks on GOP officials are 'unhelpful' MORE (R-Ky.) announced on Thursday that Lewis's body will lie in State in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. The invitation-only ceremony will take place on Monday at 1:30 p.m., with the public able to pay their respects on Monday and Tuesday. 

However, Lewis's family has asked that those wishing to come to the capital not travel across the country, citing concerns about the coronavirus.