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Lansing Rallies For Ailing Civil Rights Icon

civil rights leaders
Kevin Lavery
MLK Commission of Mid-Michigan chairperson Elaine Hardy (at podium) addresses a crowd of supporters who'd come to pray for the health of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). Lewis, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, is scheduled to speak in Lansing on Jan. 20.

Civic and faith leaders gathered on the Capitol steps in Lansing Tuesday to pray for Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who recently announced his battle with cancer. 


John Lewis was one of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s closest associates.  He led many civil rights marches, including a 1965 attempt across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where he was severely beaten.  Since 1987, he’s represented Georgia’s fifth congressional district.

Elaine Hardy chairs the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Commission of Mid-Michigan.  She says shortly before being diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, Lewis agreed to attend Lansing’s annual MLK celebration on January 20. 

“He graciously spent about 40 minutes of his time with us, and then said yes,” Hardy says.  “So, we can take a few minutes of our time to lift up prayers for him.”

Hardy says Lewis’ appearance at the Lansing celebration will be a first, as he customarily spends that holiday in Atlanta. 

The event will be held at the Lansing Center on the 20th, starting at 11 a.m.



Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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