Black Interests

John Lewis: The Final Goodbye


By Gary A. Johnson

The late Congressman John Lewis made the world a better place.  In an essay sent to The New York Times newspaper two days before his death and published on the day of his funeral, the civil rights icon said he was inspired in his last days by social justice reform and activism that has swept the county in the aftermath of police killings of Black Americans.

John Lewis was not a perfect person, but when it comes to living a life well served, in my view, he represented the best of America.  He was a true American patriot who risked his life for all of us. 

Three former American Presidents spoke at Lewis’ funeral (George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama), with President Obama delivering the eulogy.  It was refreshing to see three former American Presidents behave in a Presidential manner.

You don’t have to believe me.  Just look at the facts and draw your own conclusion.

  • Lewis’ skull was fractured in 1965 during an attempted voting rights march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama.
  • By his own count, Lewis was arrested more than 40 times during his days of civil rights activism.
  • Lewis was the first Black lawmaker to lay in state at the US Capitol Rotunda

In this March 17, 1965, file photo, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., fourth from left, foreground, locks arms with his aides as he leads a march of several thousand to the courthouse in Montgomery, Ala. From left are: an unidentified woman, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, James Foreman, King, Jesse Douglas Sr., and John Lewis. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020. (AP Photo/File)

“While my time here has come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me,” he wrote in response to the recent protests sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP/Shutterstock (5942809n)
Barack Obama, John Lewis President Barack Obama embraces Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., after Lewis introduced the president with an emotional speech by the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” a landmark event of the civil rights movement, . Rep. Lewis was beaten during “Bloody Sunday” and is a leader of the civil rights movement
Obama Selma 50th, Selma, USA

“Though I am gone, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.”  — John R. Lewis

Click here to read and listen to the final words of John Lewis, submitted to The New York Times two-days before his death.

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