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U.S. Postal Service honors the late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis with a stamp

The U.S. Postal Service said on Tuesday that the stamp "celebrates the life and legacy" of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis.
The U.S. Postal Service said on Tuesday that the stamp "celebrates the life and legacy" of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

Civil rights giant and former U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who spent decades fighting for racial justice, will be honored with a postage stamp next year.

In a Tuesday announcement, the U.S. Postal Service said the stamp "celebrates the life and legacy" of the leader from Georgia, who risked his life protesting against segregation and other injustices in the violent Jim Crow-era South.

"Lewis spent more than 30 years in Congress steadfastly defending and building on key civil rights gains that he had helped achieve in the 1960s. Even in the face of hatred and violence, as well as some 45 arrests, Lewis remained resolute in his commitment to what he liked to call 'good trouble,'" USPS said in a news release.

In March of 1965, then-25-year-old Lewis led a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma to Montgomery alongside other civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr. The peaceful protest calling for equal voting rights came to be known as "Bloody Sunday" after Alabama State Troopers descended on the non-violent demonstrators in a brutal attack that left Lewis with a cracked skull.

His public service career spanned nearly 60 years. As a young student he joined lunch-counter protests; later, he became a member of the Freedom Riders; and at 21, he was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington. After serving on the Atlanta City Council, Lewis was elected to Congress where he spent more than 30 years representing the Atlanta area in the House of Representatives.

He died at age 80 in 2020after suffering from advanced-stage pancreatic cancer.

USPS said the stamp features a portrait of Lewis taken by Marco Grob for Time magazine.

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Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.