Representative John R. Lewis (1940-2020) The son of Alabama sharecroppers, Representative John Lewis of Georgia dedicated his life to advancing the cause of freedom and equality in America. As a leader in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Lewis challenged Jim Crow segregation and oppression across the South through nonviolent protest. In 1986, Lewis was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from an Atlanta district. During his more than three decades in Congress, Lewis was a formidable legislator who exerted moral and political leadership within the Democratic Party and who never forgot his activist roots. (1940-2020) About Southern Living Southern Living, a Dotdash Meredith Brand, celebrates the food, homes, places, and culture of the South. We reach 7.2 million readers a month. Our content is written by experienced journalists and fact checked for accuracy. Learn more about us and our editorial guidelines.