Democrats plan tribute to Rep. John Lewis at national convention

The Democratic Party plans to honor civil rights hero and longtime Congressman John Lewis on Thursday, the final night of their national convention. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will be part of that tribute.

The tribute will also include clips from the new John Lewis documentary directed by Dawn Porter, “John Lewis: Good Trouble.”

The special recognition will occur near the start of “primetime programming” that begins at 9 p.m.

ExploreWatch: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms leads tribute to John Lewis at DNC

The convention, originally planned for Milwaukee, is being held online instead because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lewis died July 17 at age 80 and after a battle with pancreatic cancer. The Atlanta Democratic served in Congress for nearly 34 years.

ExploreWho will succeed John Lewis in Congress?
ExploreMultimedia story from the AJC: John Lewis's life and legacy
ExploreJohn Lewis tributes and stories: An AJC special section

Before entering politics, Lewis led marches and protests as the head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and a lieutenant of Martin Luther King Jr. He was severely beaten in 1965 during a march across Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, a demonstration that came to be known as “Bloody Sunday” and was a pivot point for the civil rights movement.

Lewis, who had risen to become the longest-serving member of Georgia’s congressional delegation, was widely praised by members of both parties for being a rare voice who could cut across the bipartisan rancor. His floor speeches were considered events that no one should miss. The U.S. House recently renamed a voter access law the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

On the morning of his funeral, July 30, Lewis’s family released an essay he wrote in his final days. He implored his memory to be kept alive with a spirit of activism and pursuit for equal rights.

“Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble,” he wrote. “Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.”

ExploreA Georgian’s guide to watching the virtual Democratic National Convention
ExploreThe AJC's special section: Life and legacy of Congressman John Lewis