After news broke that John Lewis had died on Friday, celebrities and politicians alike took to social media to remember the civil rights pioneer and Georgia representative.
Lewis died at age 80 of pancreatic cancer after announcing his diagnosis in December. He helped lead the non-violent civil rights protest movement of the 1960s alongside Martin Luther King Jr., assisted in organizing the 1963 march on Washington and the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma that motivated the passing of the Voting Rights Act.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 18, 2020
“He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise,” Obama wrote. “And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.”
My full statement: https://t.co/TVZsGzalO4
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 18, 2020
In his post, Biden wrote: “John’s life reminds us that the most powerful symbol of what it means to be an American is what we do with the time we have to make real the promise of our nation — that we are all created equal and deserve to be treated equally. Through the beatings, the marches, the arrests, the debates on war, peace, and freedom, and the legislative fights for good jobs and health care and the fundamental right to vote, he taught us that while the journey toward equality is not easy, we must be unafraid and never cower and never, ever give up.”
.@RepJohnLewis was a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation. Every day of his life was dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to all. pic.twitter.com/xMbfAUhLUv
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 18, 2020
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi posted a photo of her standing alongside an impassioned Lewis, calling him “a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation. Every day of his life was dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to all.”
John Lewis was an icon who fought with every ounce of his being to advance the cause of civil rights for all Americans. I'm devastated for his family, friends, staff—and all those whose lives he touched.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 18, 2020
Former presidential candidate Kamala Harris said that Lewis was “an icon who fought with every ounce of his being to advance the cause of civil rights for all Americans,” using the hashtag “Good Trouble” in reference to Lewis’s famous quote: “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
John Lewis gave all he had to redeem America’s unmet promise of equality and justice for all, and to create a place for us to build a more perfect union together. In so doing he became the conscience of the nation.
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) July 18, 2020
John Lewis was the truest kind of patriot. He believed America could be better, even live up to its highest founding ideals of equality & liberty for all. He made good trouble to help us get there. Now it’s up to the rest of us to carry on his work. Rest in power, my friend. pic.twitter.com/a3gEAiMzp3
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 18, 2020
Former president Bill Clinton and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also paid tribute. Bill said that Lewis “gave all he had to redeem America’s unmet promise of equality and justice for all, and to create a place for us to build a more perfect union together. In so doing he became the conscience of the nation.” Hillary called him “the truest kind of patriot,” saying that Lewis “believed America could be better, even live up to its highest founding ideals of equality and liberty for all.”
Last week when there were false rumors of Congressman John Lewis’ passing, Gayle and I called and were able to speak with him. He sounded weak but was surprisingly more alert than we expected. pic.twitter.com/8kRRDMTvFm
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) July 18, 2020
Oprah Winfrey shared a conversation she and Gayle King had with Lewis last week, during which she had the opportunity to thank him: “Thank you for your courage leading the fight for Freedom. My life as it is would not have been possible without you.”
What will the world be like without, John Lewis? What an icon. A giant among us. So grateful to have had any time with him. What warmth and wisdom he leaves behind for us. My goodness we will miss him so.
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) July 18, 2020
Ava DuVernay, who directed the 2014 film “Selma” documenting the 1965 march on the city that Lewis led, also posted a clip of the two speaking. “What will the world be like without John Lewis?” DuVernay tweeted. “What an icon. A giant among us. So grateful to have had any time with him.”
You did, indeed, fight the good fight and get into a lot of good trouble.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) July 18, 2020
Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., also posted a tribute to her father’s friend. “You did, indeed, fight the good fight and get into a lot of good trouble. You served God and humanity well.”
Sad to hear the news that civil rights legend John Lewis died yesterday. He was such a great leader who fought with honesty and bravery for civil rights in America. Long may his memory remain in our hearts. How about renaming the famous Pettus Bridge… pic.twitter.com/1iDVa1T2LI
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) July 18, 2020
Paul McCartney called Lewis “a great leader who fought with honesty and bravery for civil rights in America. Long may his memory remain in our hearts,” and suggested renaming the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., where he marched in 1965.
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) July 18, 2020
Late night host Stephen Colbert shared a clip of his interview with Lewis, saying “Thank you for the #GoodTrouble.”
What A Day… now, John Lewis. Sometimes it’s Good to meet a Hero… I was blessed every time we met. RI POWER, Sir.#thestrugglecontinues#BLM#VOTE
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) July 18, 2020
Actor Samuel L. Jackson remembered the times he had come face-to-face with Lewis: “Sometimes it’s good to meet a hero… I was blessed every time we met.”
Rest in Heavenly peace Mr. John Lewis. Thank you for your service, for your committment to change and your courage. You did great with your time on this earth. "Goodnight sweet Prince. May flights of angels sing the to thy rest." And…pour some blessings on us down here 🙏🏿❤️ pic.twitter.com/9ZBSnLYmMa
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) July 18, 2020
Viola Davis said, “Thank you for your service, for your commitment to change and your courage. You did great with your time on this earth.”
John Lewis, an American hero. All black lives matter, but his was a standout in the fight for equality. One of the greats.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) July 18, 2020
Author Stephen King referenced the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement in his tweet remembering Lewis. “John Lewis, an American hero,” King wrote. “All black lives matter, but his was a standout in the fight for equality.”
Can’t wait to see the statue that we must build to memorialize @repjohnlewis We can now replace one of our old confederates statues with a real American hero.
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) July 18, 2020
Chelsea Handler called for a statue to be built in remembrance of Lewis, tweeting: “Can’t wait to see the statue that we must build to memorialize [John Lewis]. We can now replace one of our old confederate statues with a real American hero.”
This is the man that taught us all how to get into some #GoodTrouble. One of my heroes. A true legend. Thank you for teaching us how to fight for liberty & justice for all mankind. This photo was taken at the @HRC Dinner in DC 2016 right before the world blew up. RIP #JohnLewis pic.twitter.com/8BPFqCb5eA
— Billy Porter (@theebillyporter) July 18, 2020
“Pose” actor Billy Porter shared a photo of him meeting Lewis, with the caption: “This is the man that taught us all how to get into some #GoodTrouble. One of my heroes. A true legend. Thank you for teaching us how to fight for liberty and justice for all mankind.”
Tonight is good a night as ever to check out @dawnporterm’s great documentary #GoodTrouble about the life of Rep. John Lewis which was recently released on Video On Demand and in theaters. Rest in power King ✊🏾🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/t55B5q6hKE
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) July 18, 2020
Director Matthew Cherry asked his followers to watch the recently released documentary of Lewis’s life, “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” adding “Rest in power King.”
Charles Rivkin, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association, provided a statement to Variety on Lewis’s death.
“From his efforts as a young protestor and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, to serving on Capitol Hill for 17 terms and becoming the ‘conscience of Congress,’ John Lewis was a living bridge spanning the pivotal social justice movements of our time. Over the course of his life, he stayed true to his guiding principles and never backed down from speaking up – inspiring generations of activists and leaders to follow,” Rivkin said. “In the film, television, and streaming industry especially, we understand the importance of how words and stories can challenge our view of society, and how they can make an everlasting impact on our history. Few Americans have changed the course of history like Congressman John Lewis did through his words and actions.”
Motown founder Berry Gordy said in a statement to Variety, “I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Congressman John Lewis, a humble man of great character, strength, and perseverance. His fight for justice was tireless as he went from the streets of protest to enacting laws in Congress. John Lewis is truly an icon of the Civil Rights movement and will forever hold a major place in its history. “
See more reactions below.
Some people leave a wake in their lives that so positively affects not only those around them but those far and wide, that their memory and impact will ripple on for forever – long past they’re gone. John Lewis is one of those people. ♥️ https://t.co/LUXvd0tOY3
— Kevin McHale (@druidDUDE) July 18, 2020
Rest In Peace, John Lewis. pic.twitter.com/0ZB0FqnKQj
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) July 18, 2020
John Lewis gave so much of his time and wisdom to young people like me – his work will continue for generations as we aspire every day to live up to his legacy. #ThankYouJohnLewis pic.twitter.com/5ZpYs1DO8N
— Malala (@Malala) July 18, 2020
— Cyndi Lauper (@cyndilauper) July 18, 2020
As utterly heartbreaking as today is, I’m granting myself a bit of solace by imagining the combined welcome party for both Reverend C.T. Vivian and Representative John Lewis on the other side.
And my friends, that is a party.
— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) July 18, 2020
Oh how we will mourn your loss and yet strive to continue your fight for justice for us all! “We must never, ever give up! We must be brave,bold,courageous” John Lewis pic.twitter.com/bbxmQODmf1
— Angela Bassett (@ImAngelaBassett) July 18, 2020