John Legend and Common's performance aired right after the Dawn Porter-directed tribute to the late Rep. John Lewis

By Karen Mizoguchi
August 20, 2020 09:37 PM
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John Legend and Common came together to honor a late civil rights icon.

On Thursday, the fourth and final night of the Democratic National Convention, the pair performed their award-winning collaboration "Glory," the official song of the 2014 film Selma, which tells the story of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights march in Alabama.

Legend and Common's performance of their song, which won an Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy, aired right after the Dawn Porter-directed tribute to the late Rep. John Lewis, who led the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965.

The late Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died in October 2019, spoke in the pre-recorded video about Lewis' life and legacy. Ambassador Andrew Young, Reverend James Lawson, Nancy Pelosi, Stacey Abrams, and Reverend Raphael Warnock also made remarks in the clip.

Lewis, who was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in December, died on July 17. He was 80.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis
| Credit: Getty Images

The Democratic lawmaker was the last living speaker from the 1963 March on Washington and was a prominent figure in many key moments during the civil rights movement.

At 23, Lewis was the youngest speaker at the 1963 march on the nation's capital and was also the youngest of the "Big Six" leaders of the civil rights movement. Lewis led the march in Selma, Alabama, which led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He was then elected to Congress in 1986 as a representative from Georgia and continued civil service throughout the rest of his life, earning the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

On the third night of the convention, former President Barack Obama and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris invoked Lewis' words about equal rights and racial justice in their respective speeches.

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"Last month, we lost a giant of American democracy in John Lewis. Some years ago, I sat down with John and the few remaining leaders of the early civil rights movement. One of them told me he never imagined he’d walk into the White House and see a president who looked like his grandson. Then he told me that he’d looked it up, and it turned out that on the very day that I was born, he was marching into a jail cell, trying to end Jim Crow segregation in the South," Obama said. "What we do echoes through the generations."

Meanwhile, Harris spoke about the late icon when she spoke about how her parents met. "They fell in love in that most American way — while marching together for justice in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. In the streets of Oakland and Berkeley, I got a stroller’s eye view of people getting into what the great John Lewis called 'good trouble,' " she said.

On Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke at Lewis' funeral, will make an acceptance speech after he was officially nominated as the Democratic candidate for the upcoming 2020 presidential election on Tuesday night.