A Tribute To John Lewis

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A Tribute to John Lewis.

A TRIBUTE TO JOHN LEWIS

JOHN LEWIS, AN ORDAINED MINISTER, DESERVES EVERY SINGLE VERBAL ACCOLADE — CIVIL RIGHTS ICON, A GIANT FOR JUSTICE, THE MORAL CONSCIENCE OF AMERICA--- THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN HIM DURING THESE PAST FEW DAYS BECAUSE HE TRULY WAS A THUNDEROUS VOICE FOR JUSTICE AND A CIVIL RIGHTS TRAIL BLAZER WHO WAS THE LAST SURVIVING SPEAKER FROM THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON IN 1963.

I recall, standing behind him, from the reserved section for NAACP staff members near the Lincoln Memorial, as he spoke, in 1983, during the 20th commemoration to a sea of thousands, and his words were just as powerful as he continued to carry the torch for equality and voting rights for black Americans.

I recall, in 1986, the excitement and tension in the ballroom of the Marriott Hotel awaiting the results of the 5th Congressional race, and the shock that fell over the crowd when it was announced that he had upset the proverbial favorite, Julian Bond, to become only the second African-American to be sent to Congress from that district.

His words, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when” spoke forcefully to the systemic and institutional racism in our country, and they are just as applicable now as they were when he first spoke them.

Before his passing, Rep. Lewis was able to witness the movement for social justice he championed moving across America today. It is a movement that was so adequately predicted by James Baldwin, in 1965, during the debate sponsored by Cambridge University debate society at Cambridge Union. When his squared off against William F. Buckley, Jr., the “keeper of the tablets” of American conservatism, he stated that, “…the American dream was a nightmare from which he was trying to wake…” and at his conclusion, the audience crowed in the overpacked Cambridge Union composed of  mostly young white men in jackets, rose to give Baldwin a “first ever” standing ovation as he eloquently gave the audience a “system of reality” of the black American experience from an inside prospective.

 

AMERICA IS TRULY AT A CROSSROAD IN 2020. We can choose to travel back down the road of our dark past of inequality, where the blindfolded eyes of “lady justice” were too often peeking from under the bandana, or we can choose to travel down a “bright” new road with “people of all color’’ walking together “shoulder-to-shoulder” in our fight to ensure the equal protection guarantees of our constitution applies to ALL Americans.

 

Rep. John Lewis life demonstrated unswerving advocacy to encourage us to choose the latter.

REST IN PEACE

Rev. Daniel Thomas, Jr.

Augusta Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

 


Posted by: Kandice Hartley on Jul 28, 2020
Last Modified by: Kandice Hartley on Jul 28, 2020

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