Civil rights icon John Lewis' funeral

By Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 4:33 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020
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4:32 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

Lewis' funeral ends in somber burial ceremony

Rep. John Lewis was laid to rest today at South-View Cemetery following a funeral service that took place at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s former church in Atlanta. An honor guard carried the congressman's casket to his final resting place.

As family, colleagues and friends looked on, Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock delivered remarks and prayed for Lewis.

A bugler played taps after a seven-gun salute. The honor guard then folded the American flag that had been draped over the congressman’s casket and presented it to his son, John-Miles Lewis.

Funeral director Darrell Watkins said some words and mourners each placed a long stemmed white rose on the casket. Lewis' son released a dove into the sky.

Former President Barack Obama delivered a pointed eulogy earlier today at the late congressman's funeral ceremony that honored the civil rights titan and emphasized the importance of voting. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also spoke at the service, and a letter from former President Jimmy Carter, who did not attend, was read.

Lewis, who served in Congress for more than three decades and was considered a civil rights icon, died nearly two weeks ago at the age of 80. 

Watch here:

3:48 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

John Lewis' casket arrives at South-View Cemetery

From CNN's Chris Boyette

Rep. John Lewis’ motorcade has arrived at South-View Cemetery, just south of downtown Atlanta. 

South-View Cemetery, chartered in 1886, is one of the oldest cemeteries in the American south without restrictions based on race or creed.

“As the newly-freed Blacks began to build schools to educate their children, hospitals to care for their sick, and businesses to provide goods and services for their communities, they also created a dignified resting place to honor their loved ones,” according to the South-View Cemetery Association.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was laid to rest at South-View before being moved to the Martin Luther King Center. His parents are still interred there.

3:49 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

Rep. John Lewis' funeral has ended

Pallbearers carry the body of Rep. John Lewis after funeral services at Ebenezer Baptist Church on July 30 in Atlanta.
Pallbearers carry the body of Rep. John Lewis after funeral services at Ebenezer Baptist Church on July 30 in Atlanta. Alyssa Pointer/Pool/AP

Rep. John Lewis' funeral has ended. The congressman was carried out of Ebenezer Baptist Church by an honor guard to a hearse that will take him to his final resting place at South-View Cemetery, just south of downtown Atlanta. 

Mourners inside danced to the recessional song "Happy" by Pharrell Williams  — a favorite of the late congressman who was seen dancing to the song in a viral video.

Watch the moment:

2:44 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

BeBe Winans performs "Good Trouble" — a song he wrote in honor of Lewis


Rep. John Lewis often repeated the phrase "Good Trouble" to counsel people on the need for "good trouble, necessary trouble."

That phrase is now the title of a new song.

BeBe Winans wrote "Good Trouble" in honor of Lewis. BeBe Winans and Marvin Winans performed the song publicly for the first time today at Lewis' funeral.

CNN's Chris Boyette contributed to this report.

2:27 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

Obama praises the "new generation of activists standing up for freedom and equality"

Alyssa Pointer/Pool/AP
Alyssa Pointer/Pool/AP

One person heartened by the sight of thousands of Americans taking to the streets to demand justice following the death of George Floyd was Rep. John Lewis.

Former President Barack Obama spoke with Lewis following Floyd's death on May 25 and said "he could not have been prouder to see this new generation of activists standing up for freedom and equality," the 44th president said in Atlanta today during Lewis' funeral.

"I told him all those young people, John, of every race and every religion from every background and gender and sexual orientation, John, those are your children. They learned from your example. Even if they didn't always know it," Obama said.

2:30 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

Obama calls out federal agents that use "tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators"

Alyssa Pointer/Pool/AP
Alyssa Pointer/Pool/AP

Speaking about Rep. John Lewis' perseverance in fighting for civil rights and freedom, former President Barack Obama called on the country to be "vigilant against the darker currents" of US history.

"He knew from his own life that progress is fragile. That we have to be vigilant against the darker currents of this country's history. Of our own history. Where there are whirlpools of violence and hatred and despair that can always rise again," Obama said.

Without directly mentioning recent incidents in Portland and other cities, Obama called out federal government agents that "use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators."

"Today we witness with our own eyes, police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans. George Wallace may be gone, but we can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators," Obama said.

2:50 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

What Obama said about voting, the right John Lewis fought for

Alyssa Pointer/Pool/AP
Alyssa Pointer/Pool/AP

Former President Barack Obama took the opportunity during his eulogy for Rep. John Lewis to raise awareness about ongoing efforts to stifle voting in the US on the eve of a presidential election.

“Even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations and targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the postal service in the run up to an election. It's going to be dependent on mail-in ballots so people don't get sick," Obama said to a standing ovation.

Obama said the late congressman "devoted his time on this Earth fighting the very attacks on democracy and what's best in America that we're seeing circulate right now.”

"We should keep marching. To make it even better. By making sure every American is automatically registered to vote, including former inmates who've earned their second chance," Obama said to applause. "By adding polling places. And expanding early voting and making election day a national holiday so if you are somebody who's working in a factory or you're a single mom, who's got to go to her job and doesn't get time off, you can still cast your ballot. By guaranteeing that every American citizen has equal representation in our government, including the American citizens who live in Washington DC, and in Puerto Rico."

Some context: Obama's remarks came just hours after President Trump floated the idea of delaying November's presidential election, lending voice to persistent concerns that he will seek to circumvent voting in a contest where he currently trails his opponent by double digits.

Trump has no authority to delay an election, and the Constitution gives Congress the power to set the date for voting. Lawmakers from both parties said almost immediately there was no likelihood the election would be delayed.

Watch here:

2:35 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

Obama: Lewis was "a man of pure joy and unbreakable perseverance" despite tests to his faith

From CNN's Chris Boyette

Alyssa Pointer/pool/AP
Alyssa Pointer/pool/AP

Former President Barack Obama called Congressman John Lewis “an American whose faith was tested again and again to produce a man of pure joy and unbreakable perseverance.” 

“I've come here today because I, like so many Americans, owe a great debt to John Lewis and his forceful vision of freedom,” the 44th president of the United States said. 

“Now this country is a constant work in progress," Obama continued. "We're born with instructions to form a more perfect union. Explicit in those words is the idea that we're imperfect. What gives each new generation purpose is to take up the unfinished work of the last and carry it further than any might have thought possible."

Obama went on to describe Lewis' work as a young civil rights activist.

"John Lewis, first of the Freedom Riders, head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, youngest speaker at the March on Washington, leader of the march from Selma to Montgomery, member of Congress representing the people of this state and this district for 33 years, mentor to young people — including me, at the time," Obama said.

"Until his final day on this Earth, he not only embraced that responsibility but he made it his life's work," Obama added.

Watch here:

2:29 p.m. ET, July 30, 2020

John Lewis was perhaps MLK's "finest disciple," Obama says

Alyssa Pointer/Pool/AP
Alyssa Pointer/Pool/AP

Former President Barack Obama just started his eulogy for Rep. John Lewis.

"It is a great honor to be back at Ebenezer Baptist Church, at the pulpit of its greatest pastor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to pay my respects to perhaps his finest disciple," Obama said.

Obama said he owes "a great debt" to Lewis and his "forceful vision of freedom."