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Rep. John Lewis joins other civil rights titans, Black pioneers at historic South-View Cemetery

The cemetery in Atlanta has a storied history of being the final resting place for some 80,000 Black Atlantans.

ATLANTA — After a lifetime of marching, fighting and pushing for change and justice, Congressman John Lewis has been laid to rest. 

Following six days of celebrations of his life, family, friends, colleagues and dignitaries said their farewells at his burial site in South-View Cemetery, where he was reunited with his late-wife Lillian Miles Lewis, who preceded him in death in 2012.

The long-time Georgia representative and crusader for civil rights not only joins the souls of other civil rights heroes, his remains will rest alongside his fellow fighters on earth, as well.

The South-View Cemetery off of Jonesboro Road in Atlanta has a storied past of being the final resting place for some 80,000 Black Atlantans, many of whom made significant contributions to American history, according to the cemetery.

It was founded in 1886 by former slaves who became businessmen, and with a charter from the state of Georgia that same year, South-View’s founders gave African-Americans, who could not be buried in White burial grounds, a cemetery of their own.

It is the nation’s oldest African American non-eleemosynary corporation still in operation, according to South-View.

Among those buried in the historic cemetery are "scholars, business owners, pastors, professors, military heroes, musicians, athletes, and civil rights activists," according to South-View. 

Some of the more famous names who were buried there include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Benjamin Mays. Both were laid to rest in the South Atlanta cemetery before being moved to the Martin Luther King Center and Morehouse College, respectively. 

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
The grave of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is shown at South View Cemetery, Atlanta, Ga. Dr. King was buried Tuesday, April 9, 1968. The epitaph is the chorus of an old slave hymn often quoted by Dr. King. (AP Photo)

Among others buried there are Dr. King's parents and brother, A.D. King; Alonzo Herndon, the founder of Atlanta Life Insurance Company; Tuskegee Airmen; lynching victims; victims of Atlanta's 1906 race riots; former Atlanta Hawk Walt Bellamy; and William Franklin Guest, cousin of Gladys Knight and co-founder of Gladys Knight and the Pips. It is also the final resting place of one of Lewis' fondest friends, and fellow civil rights pioneer, Julian Bond

Now, Lewis will rest eternally in a hallowed place for Atlanta's civil rights history - forever a piece of the city that he represented for decades.