The body of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis will lie in state at the US Capitol, a form of ceremonial tribute to honor the lives of American statesmen and military leaders. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday announced plans for Lewis’ body to lie in state in the US Capitol Rotunda next week with an invitation-only arrival ceremony at 1:30 p.m. ET on Monday
John Lewis will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, one of the highest American honors.
Congressional leaders announced Thursday that Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia and a civil rights icon, would lie in state next week in the Capitol Rotunda, one of the highest American honors, before a viewing for the public to be held outside.
With the Capitol closed to the public amid the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Lewis will spend only a few hours lying in state under the Capitol dome after an invitation-only ceremony on Monday afternoon, according to plans released by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, and Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader.
Afterward, his coffin will be moved outside to the top of the Capitol steps, and members of the public will be able to line up — with masks required and social distancing enforced — to view it from the plaza below on Monday evening and all day Tuesday, the leaders said in a joint statement.
Mr. Lewis, a 17-term congressman from Georgia and the senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, died last week after battling pancreatic cancer. He was known as the “conscience of the Congress” for his moral authority acquired through years of protest for racial equality — including when he was brutally beaten during voting rights demonstrations in Selma, Ala., in 1965 and across the Jim Crow South.
The leaders said Mr. Lewis’s family would provide more details about honoring him beyond the Capitol ceremony, including with a procession through Washington. Americans often travel from far-flung locations to honor Americans lying in state at the Capitol, but Mr. Lewis’s family discouraged people from doing so amid the pandemic, instead asking for “virtual tributes” using the hashtags #BelovedCommunity or #HumanDignity.
Last year, Representative Elijah E. Cummings became the first Black lawmaker to lie in state in the Capitol. It is an honor that has been afforded to more than 40 individuals, most recently including Mr. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, President George H.W. Bush and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona.