Civil Rights Champion Rep. John Lewis Hospitalized

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According to CNN, civil rights champion and Georgia Representative John Lewis was hospitalized Saturday night after falling ill on a flight back to Atlanta.

Lewis’ spokesperson, Brenda Jones, reported that Lewis will be released from the hospital sometime on Sunday, adding that the congressman is currently under routine observation. Jones, however, did not give any specifics about Lewis’ illness or the exact Atlanta hospital in which he is receiving treatment.

“There is no cause for alarm,” Jones commented. “He will be fine. He’s resting comfortably and expects to be released tomorrow.”

The 78-year-old congressman and civil rights icon has represented the 5th Congressional District of Georgia for 14 consecutive election terms since 1987.

A civil rights activist in the 1960s, Lewis worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1965 voting rights march in Selma, Alabama. Photographs of Lewis being beaten and arrested were taken on the historical Bloody Sunday, which aided the implementation of the Voting Rights Act into law. Although the march was nonviolent, local police descended on the protest, beating and assaulting Lewis until his skull fractured.

Lewis also served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was part of the Freedom Riders. Lewis and 12 other African-American students went to Louisiana to protest segregated busing in the mid-1960s, where they were attacked and beaten by counter protestors.

More recently, however, Lewis has criticized the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy, separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, becoming involved in several demonstrations protesting the President’s immigration policy.

At the end of June, Lewis joined a march in Atlanta to apply more pressure on the Trump administration, applauding participants for creating “good trouble, necessary trouble.”

During the march on June 30, Lewis said, “The world is crying with us. We must show the world that we are better than what is going on in America today.”

John Lewis
  Alex Wong / Getty Images

Lewis has been a critic of the President long before Trump’s implementation of the zero-tolerance policy, however. In January 2017, Rep. Lewis refused to attend President Trump’s first State of the Union address, explaining at the time, “I cannot sit there and listen to him.” Lewis also refused to attend Trump’s inauguration, angering the President, who later tweeted, “Congressman John Lewis should finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities of the U.S. I can use all the help I can get!”

In 2011, Rep. John Lewis was awarded with the President Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama. The award represents the high possible honor that a civilian can attain in the United States.