Atlanta United to honor Rep. John Lewis with special captain’s armband for MLS is Back Tournament game

    Atlanta United will honor former longtime US congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis with a special captain’s armband for their MLS is Back Tournament game against Columbus Crew on Tuesday. 

    Lewis, who represented Atlanta as part of Georgia’s 5th Congressional District for more than three decades, died on Friday at the age of 80 after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

    Atlanta released a video of showing the black armband they plan to wear, featuring the letters “J.L” written in white.

    Lewis, a colleague of Martin Luther King Jr., was part of the Freedom Riders who challenged segregated buses and gave a keynote speech during the historic 1963 March on Washington.

    Following Lewis’ death, Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank paid tribute to a man he called a “true American icon.”

    “Freedom fighter are words that were rightly associated with John all his life,” it read. “It was one of the great honors of my life to be standing at John’s side in 2011 when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his decades of service as a Congressman representing our city and for his heroic courage as one of the 13 original Freedom Riders during the most turbulent years of the civil rights movement.

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    “John wore the scars of a brutal 1965 beating he received while leading the history-changing “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma – to those honored to know him, it was always a reminder that freedom isn’t free. John risked his life to end legalized racial segregation and make America a better place for us and future generations. Throughout his 33 years representing Atlanta in Congress, he served as the conscience of that body, reminding us all that democracy is a daily struggle. That’s the enduring legacy of one of the most courageous people I ever met. May he rest well and at peace after such a meaningful, purpose-filled life.”

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