The bell in Kirkland Hall’s historic clock tower rang 80 times at 10 a.m. July 30 in honor of Civil Rights icon John Lewis, who died July 17 at the age of 80.
Lewis fulfilled many key roles in the Civil Rights Movement and was integral to ending legalized racial segregation in the United States. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District from 1987 until the time of his death and was known as the “conscience of the Congress” for his moral authority acquired through years of protest for racial equality. In 2011, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Lewis was laid to rest on Thursday following memorial services in his home state of Alabama; his body lying in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, the first Black lawmaker to do so; and funeral services in Atlanta, where he was eulogized by Vanderbilt alumnus the Rev. James Lawson and Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, among others.