JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Congressman John R. Lewis passed away on Friday, July 17, after a six month battle with cancer. Up until his death, the 80-year-old continued to fight for the rights of African Americans across the United States.

Dr. Flonzie Brown Wright, who was a close friend of Lewis and a Civil Rights leader in Mississippi, said, “Years from now, 50 years from now, well after I’m gone, well after many other people are gone, we’ll be reading about and learning about this “soul giant” John Lewis and what his legacy stood for. A man who endured the shame like Christ, who endured the beatings like Christ, but he kept on rising. He kept on moving as long as he possibly could.”

She continued, “The day he passed away, he was writing. He was writing a letter to someone the day he died. He was still trying to effectuate change, and that’s his legacy to me. That even in his dying moments, his dying day, he was still trying to rectify many of the wrongs that had been done.”

Lewis dedicated his life to protecting the rights of African Americans. He and Wright stood alongside Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., marching for freedom. In 1963, he was named as one of the “Big Six” leaders in the Civil Rights Movement. Lewis devoted his life to changing the world.

“The term congressman meant nothing to him. He’s just John. The accolades meant nothing to him. When President Obama gave him the Medal of Freedom, that meant something to him. But he’s just John. Foot soldier, just trying to make things better for people.”

The Freedom Rider’s legacy will go on, and it will continue to shape how history is written.