John Robert Lewis has died after a six-month battle with cancer, according to a statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Lewis is the son of sharecroppers. He survived a brutal beating by police during a landmark 1965 march in Selma, Alabama. He became a figure of the civil rights movement and a longtime US congressman. Lewis was a follower and colleague of Martin Luther King Jr. He participated in lunch counter sit-ins, joined the Freedom Riders in challenging segregated buses.