John Lewis, lion of civil rights and Congress, dies at 80

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Civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

ATLANTA (AP) – John Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, has died. He was 80.

Lewis was the last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He was best known for leading 600 protesters in the 1965 Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

Lewis was knocked to the ground and beaten by state troopers. Televised images forced the country’s attention on racial oppression.

A Democrat from Atlanta, he won his U.S. House seat in 1986.

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