John Lewis Siblings Unveiled: The Untold Family Legacy

John Lewis Siblings were an integral part of his life, providing a supportive network that fueled his passion for social justice.

As the third of ten children, Lewis grew up alongside nine brothers and sisters, each playing a unique role in shaping the man who would become a champion of civil rights.

Among his siblings were six brothers: Adolph, Sammy, William, Grant, Edward, and Freddie, and three sisters: Ethel, Rosa, and Ora.

Their shared experiences of segregation and discrimination in Troy, Alabama, instilled in them a deep sense of empathy and a commitment to fighting for equality.

While John Lewis’s name is etched in history for his unwavering leadership in the Civil Rights Movement, the influence of his siblings cannot be overlooked.

They stood by him during his darkest hours, providing unwavering support and strength.

This article delves into the lives of John Lewis’s siblings, revealing the profound impact they had on his journey and their own contributions to the fight for racial justice.

John Lewis Siblings
Credit: Courtesy of the Lewis Family.


John Lewis

John Robert Lewis, an American statesman and champion of civil rights, held the position of representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1987 until his passing in 2020.

He played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement, engaging in the Nashville sit-ins, participating in the Freedom Rides, and contributing to the March on Washington.

Born in 1940 in Pike County, Alabama, Lewis spent his childhood on a farm and received his education in segregated schools.

His early passion for civil rights was ignited, and he drew inspiration from the impactful efforts of Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1960, Lewis took part in the Nashville sit-ins, a series of demonstrations opposing racial segregation at lunch counters.

Despite facing multiple arrests for his activism, he remained undeterred in his commitment to the struggle for equality.

In 1961, Lewis took part in the Freedom Rides, a sequence of bus journeys aimed at confronting segregation in interstate travel.

Despite being assaulted by a group of enraged white men in Montgomery, Alabama, he persisted in riding the buses until they reached their intended destination.

In 1963, Lewis stood among the prominent “Big Six” figures leading the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

At the event, he delivered a compelling address, passionately advocating for the cessation of racial discrimination.

In 1965, Lewis spearheaded the initial Selma to Montgomery marches, traversing the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

During the infamous event dubbed Bloody Sunday, state troopers and police assaulted Lewis and fellow marchers.

Despite enduring severe beatings, Lewis remained resolute in his commitment to the struggle for voting rights, refusing to surrender.

Lewis’s dedication to activism played a pivotal role in bringing an end to legalized racial segregation in the United States.

Recognized as a true champion of justice and equality, he is destined to be remembered as one of the most significant figures in American history.

In 1986, Lewis secured a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and went on to fulfill 17 terms of service.

A prominent figure within the Democratic Party, he emerged as a key advocate for civil rights.

Throughout his distinguished career, Lewis garnered numerous honorary degrees and accolades, culminating in the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom bestowed upon him in 2011.

John Lewis Siblings
President Barack Obama awards the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Congressman John Lewis in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House February 15, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


In 2020, at the age of 80, Lewis passed away.

He is remembered by his wife, Lillian Miles Lewis, and their son, John-Miles Lewis, who continue to carry on his legacy.

Adolph Lewis

Adolph Lewis passed away at the age of 54 in the year 1997.

He passed away due to a heart attack in Florida after dedicating 30 years of his career to G&M Tile and Terrazzo Co.

He was the father of three daughters, two sons, and the proud grandfather of 14 grandchildren, with the additional joy of having two great-grandchildren.

Grant Lewis

Following John Lewis’s passing, his youngest brother, Henry Grant Lewis, assumed the role of the family spokesperson.

John Lewis Siblings
Grant Lewis, brother of former US Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) speaks during a press conference on July 19, 2020 at Rep. Lewis’ home in Atlanta, Georgia.


Henry took center stage at John’s funeral and various memorial gatherings, recounting anecdotes from his brother’s life and emphasizing his enduring legacy.

Engaging actively in the preservation of John’s memory, Henry is dedicated to advancing the message of nonviolent resistance that defined his late brother’s impactful life.

Edward Lewis

Born deaf in 1938, Edward Lewis, the younger brother of John Lewis, was known for his expressive and self-reliant nature.

Despite his hearing impairment, he led a simple life, engaging in manual labor such as timber cutting and machinery operation.

Following their father’s passing, Edward assumed the responsibility of caring for their fiercely independent 84-year-old mother.

John, understanding Edward’s distinctive form of communication, characterized by grunts and moans, appreciated the depth of their connection.

In 2012, Edward peacefully passed away in Troy, Alabama, after living a quiet life in rural Alabama throughout most of his years.

Ora Lewis Crawley

In 2006, Ora Lewis Crawley, the eldest among his siblings, passed away at the age of 70 in Detroit, Michigan.

She was the mother of two, grandmother to five, and great-grandmother to one.

Ethel Lewis Tyner

On July 25th, Ethel Mae Tyner, his sister, addressed the “Boy from Troy” ceremony in Alabama, commemorating the life of John Lewis.

John Lewis Siblings
Ethel Mae Tyner, sister of John Lewis, speaks during “​The Boy from Troy”​ service celebrating the life of John Lewis.


According to CNN, she discussed his modest start and his regard for others.

She participated in an interview for a documentary titled “John Lewis: Good Trouble.”

Rosa Lewis Tyner

Rosa Mae Tyner, the sister of John Lewis, also addressed the “Boy From Troy” ceremony, commending his strong faith in God and his commitment to serving others.

Freddie Lewis

He stood as one more sibling in the Lewis family, closely related to John Lewis.

Residing in Detroit, Michigan, he eventually relocated with his wife and children to Troy, Alabama.

Following the passing of John Lewis, he, alongside his son John-Miles Lewis and other family members, participated in the press conference.

Sammy Lewis

He resided in Troy, Alabama, within view of his mother’s residence and held the distinction of being John Lewis’ youngest sibling.

Additionally, he participated in the press conference following John Lewis’ passing alongside his nephew, John-Miles Lewis, and other relatives.

William Lewis

He resided in Troy, Alabama, close to his mother’s residence and was one of John Lewis‘ younger siblings.


The siblings of John Lewis served as the silent pillars of strength, providing unwavering support throughout his enduring quest for justice.

Through shared experiences and individual contributions to the cause of equality, they played a pivotal role in shaping his character.

While their stories may often go untold, it is crucial to remember and celebrate them alongside John.

Together, they serve as a powerful reminder that the pursuit of justice requires more than just individual heroes; it demands a collective spirit of courage and steadfast commitment.

Let us pay tribute to their legacy by carrying forward their torch, striving for a world where equality and dignity are not merely ideals but tangible realities.

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