Over the last few days, the body of John Lewis has traveled the country, from his native Alabama to the halls of Washington, D.C., to a public viewing Wednesday in Atlanta, his longtime adopted hometown, where scores of mourners lined up on a sweltering afternoon to bid him goodbye.
A motorcade on Wednesday led Mr. Lewis on one final tour of Atlanta, the city he represented in Congress for more than three decades and a place he helped establish as the spiritual home of a nonviolent movement to protest racism.
But on this ultimate journey, the hearse carrying the body of the congressman and civil rights leader traversed a city that in recent weeks has been racked by turmoil. It drove down streets where scores of demonstrators have marched this summer to protest police violence, including the fatal shooting of Mr. Brooks.
Mr. Lewis’s death on July 17 came amid a moment of unrest across America, with the nation again wrestling with its troubled racial history. And in the days since, at memorial events in Alabama and Washington, one person after the next has invoked Mr. Lewis’s credo of getting into “good trouble.” As a young man — and for the rest of his life — he defined it as a moral call to rebel through nonviolent means against injustices, even if the consequences were perilous.
The conversations about Mr. Lewis’s legacy, with some of his colleagues calling him the “conscience of Congress,” have pushed many activists and others to consider how his message of nonviolent resistance has endured and evolved for a new generation carrying on the fight.
“It’s easy to go violence on violence,” David Parker, an Army veteran who works for a courier company, said on Wednesday as he stood in a long line at the Statehouse to bid Mr. Lewis farewell. “The hard part is peace.”
“You go the other way,” Mr. Parker, 54, said, “you’re going to blow up the country.”
Outside the gold-domed Georgia Capitol, a diverse crowd that had come to pay their respects snaked around the building and seemed to constantly replenish itself. The crowd was young and old, in hijabs and ball caps, in formal dress and T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan of a new civil rights protest movement that Mr. Lewis had wholeheartedly endorsed.