Montgomery to hold vigil Sunday night for Rep. John Lewis

The vigil will be held across the street from the Alabama Capitol where Lewis will lie in state

Mayor Steven Reed on Montgomery honoring Rep. Lewis

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The City of Montgomery will host a vigil Sunday to honor the late civil rights icon, Alabama native and longtime Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

Mayor Steven Reed said the vigil will be held in Bicentennial Park, located at the corner of South Bainbridge Street and Dexter Avenue, at 7 p.m. Sunday.

The city said its vigil is the culmination of Rep. Lewis’ final pilgrimage back to his home state where his body will cross Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge one last time before journeying on to Montgomery.

Prior to the vigil, the mayor’s office is asking residents to line the sidewalks of historic Dexter Avenue starting at around 11:30 a.m. to greet the procession on its last leg of the Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights Trail.

Lewis will be given the honor of lying in state at the Alabama Capitol from 3 to 7 p.m., a time during which the public can pay final respects and say goodbye to the Troy native. Following that honor, the vigil will begin across the street with a variety of dignitaries confirming attendance.

Those include Dr. Bernice A. King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and CEO of The King Center; original freedom rider Dr. Bernard Lafayette; Attorney Fred Gray; Civil Rights movement veteran, activist, educator and Alabama Democratic Conference chairman Dr. Joe L. Reed; Sheyann Webb-Christburg, the youngest foot soldier in the Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March; and Black Voters Matter co-founder Latosha Brown.

Reed’s office said young activists and community leaders Amerika Blair, Khadidah Stone and Udonna Simpson will share remarks at the vigil. Others speakers are still being confirmed.

The city reminds those participating in any of the events to follow all state and city health orders, including mask and face covering mandates, as well as social distancing protocols.

The following streets will be closed Sunday, according to the Montgomery Police Department:

  • S. Decatur Street/Dexter Avenue
  • N. Bainbridge Street/Monroe Street
  • N. Bainbridge Street/Washington Avenue
  • N. Union Street/Monroe Street
  • S. Union Street/Washington Avenue
Several streets will be closed in downtown Montgomery Sunday for events honoring Congressman John Lewis.
Several streets will be closed in downtown Montgomery Sunday for events honoring Congressman John Lewis. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Gov. Kay Ivey has ordered flags to fly at half-staff from sunrise Saturday to sunrise Monday to honor Lewis before his departure to Washington ‚D.C. where he will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. Following that, the congressman will return to Georgia where public events and a private funeral are planned.

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