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Lewis the First Black Lawmaker to Lie in State at Capitol

Civil rights leader honored by former colleagues
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 27, 2020 2:21 PM CDT

(Newser) – The body of the late Rep. John Lewis has arrived in the Rotunda of the US Capitol, where he will lie in state as lawmakers pay tribute to the long-time Georgia lawmaker and icon of the civil rights movement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation Monday to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to greet Lewis’ flag-draped casket. Lewis' motorcade stopped at Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House as it wound through Washington before arriving at the Capitol, where the late congressman becomes the first Black lawmaker to lie in state in the Rotunda, the AP reports. As with others afforded the honor, Lewis' casket was rested atop the catafalque built for President Abraham Lincoln's funeral in 1865.

Pelosi and others will attend a private ceremony in the Rotunda before Lewis’ body is moved to the steps on the Capitol's east side for a public viewing, an unusual sequence required because the COVID-19 pandemic has closed the Capitol to the public. Inside the Rotunda and outdoors, signs welcomed visitors with a reminder that masks would be required. Joe Biden, who served in Congress alongside Lewis, is expected to visit the Capitol to pay his respects. Absent from the ceremonies is President Trump, who publicly jousted with Lewis. Trump said he would not go to the Capitol, but Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to pay his respects later Monday. (On Sunday, Lewis' body crossed the bridge where he was beaten during a civil rights march 55 years ago.)


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