A longtime Baltimore civil rights activist is calling for the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala to be renamed after the late congressman John Lewis.
Rep. Lewis, who died on July 17 after a battle with cancer, led a march for voting rights on the bridge in 1963, a demonstration that is now known as “Bloody Sunday”. The name described the beating Lewis and others endured by the state troopers during the historic protest, one that left Rep. Lewis with a fractured skull.
Reverend Annie Chambers, who is most known as an advocate for welfare rights, has been fighting for civil right for more than 60 years. She said she met Lewis when was was 14 and went on march with him at least 20 times, including at the March on Washington in 1963, where Rep. Lewis gave a speech. .
Rev. Chambers described the late congressman as a good man, who was courageous and loved everyone.
“He was a person that really wanted to get a long with everybody,“ she said. “He didn’t want any enemies. He was a good man.”
Rev. Chambers believes the bridge in Selma should be renamed after him because he was one of the key forces in the civil rights movement. She also said he deserves a statue in the nation’s capital.
“He justly deserves it,” she said. “He was a man that fought up until the end and he loved and cared about his people. Not just black people, but poor people [and] working class people.”
Rep. Lewis became the first black lawmaker to lie in state at the U.S Capitol on Monday, where dozens of lawmakers paid their respects. A memorial was held outside at the steps of capitol building for the public to remember him as well.
The late congressman will also lie in state at the Georgia State Capitol on Wednesday before a celebration of life Thursday at the Ebeneezer Baptist Church Horizon Sanctuary in Atlanta followed by interment at South-View Cemetery.