John Lewis' celebration of life begins: Six day journey to start in Troy and Selma

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., stands on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., in between television interviews on Feb. 14, 2015. Rep. Lewis was beaten by police on the bridge on "Bloody Sunday" on March 7, 1965, during a march for voting rights from Sel

The body of Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights leader and Georgia politician, will begin its six-day journey in a celebration of life Saturday, with its first stops in Troy and Selma, Alabama.

Lewis, 80, died on July 17 after a six-month battle with cancer.

Lewis' body, which will be accompanied by a military honor guard on each of its stops, is expected to journey to Troy University for "A Service Celebrating 'The Boy from Troy'" on Saturday.

The event, with speeches from two of his 10 siblings-- his brother, Henry "Grant" Lewis, and sister, Rosa Mae Tyner-- and a rendition of "Hero," from Sheila Jackson, will pay homage to Lewis' history in the city that set off his activism alongside Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1958.

It was over 60 years ago that Dr. King met with the then 18-year-old "boy from Troy" who had hopes of attending an all-white university.

The school -- Troy University -- is the campus to host the first of several proceedings for Lewis beginning Saturday.

Lewis grew up in Pike County, Ala., and was an aspiring minister.

The son of sharecroppers, he worked alongside his siblings on his family's land, tending the fields and animals. The young Lewis would preach to the chickens to practice his craft.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has worsened in Lewis' home state of Alabama, the family has requested that everyone wear a face mask to prevent mourners and onlookers from spreading the virus.

Other planned events to commemorate the historic icon include a procession to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma on Sunday-- the site of a bloody face-off between police and protesters in 1965, where Lewis and other demonstrators were beaten with clubs by state troopers-- before Lewis lies in repose at the Alabama Capitol.

He will be flown to Washington, D.C. on Monday and his casket will make several stops throughout the city, including at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial near the National Mall. He will then lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, with a public viewing.

The honor to lay in the nation's Capitol Rotunda has been given to more than 30 distinguished figures in American history, including and most recently the late Sen. John McCain and late Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Lewis will then be flown to Atlanta, where he will lie in state at the Georgia Capitol Wednesday, before his final internment on Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.