Our deepest condolences go out to Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), whose wife of 44 years, Lillian Miles Lewis, died Monday morning, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The couple have one son, John Miles.
Lewis, whose father owned a small contracting business, attended Los Angeles High School with the late Johnny Cochran, received an undergraduate degree in English from California State College (now California State University) at Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in library science at the University of Southern California.
It was after taking a job as a librarian at Atlanta University (the predecessor, with Clark College, of today’s Clark Atlanta University) that she met her husband at a 1967 New Year’s Eve party at the home of television personality and civil rights activist Xernona Clayton. Clayton and another movement veteran, Dr. Bernard LaFayette, played matchmaker.
The two began a courtship, often double-dating with Julian and Alice Bond, movement friends who would become bitter rivals when Bond and Lewis opposed each other in a 1986 congressional race. The Lewises were married in 1968.