(WIAT & CNN) — On Friday, Rep. John Lewis, an Alabama native and instrumental figure in the civil rights movement turned 80 years old.
The Democrat who represents Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District is serving his 17th term in Congress. Lewis has served in Congress since 1987.
During the 1960s, Lewis was part of the student nonviolent coordinating committee.
Lewis, a native of Troy, rose to national prominence during the civil rights movement for his work as a freedom fighter. He famously marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the March on Washington in 1963. He was the youngest keynote speaker at the event.
In 1965, was among those who put together the Selma to Montgomery marches. Those marches protested practices that prevented black people from voting the South. Lewis said he was arrested dozens of times for his civil rights work.
Many people sent Rep. Lewis birthday wishes today and thanked him for being such a legendary icon.
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