With the Capitol closed to the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Lewis’ body will lie in state for only a few hours under the Capitol dome for an invitation-only ceremony reserved exclusively for congressional lawmakers.
Lewis is the first Black lawmaker to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. The late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) also lay in state in the Capitol; however, he was honored in the Statuary Hall, according to the New York Times.
Following the ceremony, the casket of the late congressman will be moved to the Capitol steps for a public viewing from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. local time, with strict social distancing measures enforced by officials. A second viewing opportunity will be held for the public on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time.
While there are many preventative measures in place to combat the novel coronavirus, Lewis’ family has still urged out-of-state individuals against traveling to the nation’s capital and instead asked them to post virtual tributes on social media with either the “#BelovedCommunity” or “#HumanDignity” hashtag.
— Allie Malloy (@AlliemalCNN) July 27, 2020
Prior to the motorcade’s arrival at the US Capitol, the procession made several stops along the way, the first of which was at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial before momentarily stopping in front of the Lincoln Memorial and on Black Lives Matter Plaza, across from the White House.
The previous week, when plans were still being arranged for Lewis’ procession, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) remarked that “if anybody deserves to lie in state here at the Capitol, it's John.”
“Not only was he the conscience of the Congress, but he also brought nobility to the position,” he added. “People like him are irreplaceable.”
Over the weekend, the late civil rights leader crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, for the final time aboard a horse-drawn carriage.
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) July 27, 2020
On March 7, 1965, Lewis and hundreds of other peaceful protesters were viciously attacked by police at the bridge, and he often revisited the area in the years that followed.
Lewis died at the age of 80 on July 17 after battling pancreatic cancer. Lewis’ body will be interred Thursday at the South-View Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia, after laying in state at the Georgia Capitol Rotunda.