Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Laid To Rest In Atlanta

John Lewis

Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Laid To Rest In Atlanta Funeral

Civil rights icon and longtime representative John Lewis was laid to rest today (July 30) in Atlanta, Georgia. The funeral was attended by three former U.S. presidents, as well as Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Cory Booker, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Bernice King, and former Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell.

One of the most remarkable parts of the funeral is when Former President Barack Obama delivered an impassioned eulogy dedicated to the late John Lewis, which earned him a standing ovation. In the eulogy, which is now going viral, the beloved former president took the time to call out the Trump administration for their handling of peaceful protestors across the nation, angry because of the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others killed at the hands of state sanctioned violence,

“Bull Connor may be gone. But today we witness with our own eyes police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans. George Wallace may be gone. But we can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators. We may no longer have to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar in order to cast a ballot. But even as we sit here, there are those in power are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting — by closing polling locations, and targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws, and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the Postal Service in the run-up to an election that is going to be dependent on mailed-in ballots so people don’t get sick.”

Former President George W. Bush also gave an emotional speech, where he shared some memories he had working alongside Mr. Lewis and the lessons he learned and the nation has learned from the late civil rights icon,

“We live in a better and nobler country today, because of John Lewis — and his abiding faith in the power of God, in the power of democracy, and in the power of love to lift us all to a higher ground. In the America John Lewis fought for, and the America I believe in, differences of opinion are inevitable elements and evidence of democracy in action,” he said. “We the people, including congressmen and presidents, can have differing views on how to perfect our union while sharing the conviction that our nation however flawed is at heart a good and noble one.”

Former President Bill Clinton was at the funeral as well and praised Mr. Lewis’ efforts throughout the decades fighting for the civil liberties of African Americans tirelessly,

“John Lewis was a walking rebuke to people who thought, ‘Well we ain’t there yet, we’ve been working a long time, isn’t it time to bag it?’ He kept moving. He hoped for, and imagined, and lived and worked and moved for his beloved community. He got into a lot of good trouble along the way, but let’s not forget he also developed an absolutely uncanny ability to heal troubled waters. When he could have been angry and determined to cancel his adversaries, he tried to get converts instead. He thought the open hand was better than the clenched fist. I think it’s important that all of us who loved him remember that he was, after all, a human being a man like all other humans, born with strengths that he made the most of when many don’t. Born with weaknesses that he worked hard to beat down when many can’t. But still a person. It made him more interesting, and it made him in my mind even greater.”

Another moment that captured the hearts of the nation, was that of 12 year old Tybre Faw. Tybre met his idol John Lewis two years ago in Selma, Alabama. The preteen was outside of a church where the late activist was attending services that day. The young man was holding a sign that read “Thank you Rep. John Lewis. You have shown me how to have courage.”

Tybre Faw had travelled 7 hours to meet the man that he viewed as his hero, in turn the preteen got in contact with Mr. Lewis’ camp and was able to meet the man he idolized. The two kept in contact over the last two years, and Tybre was invited to march with Mr.Lewis in the March for Our Lives event.

The last time Tybre Faw saw his hero, was in March, where the two shared an elbow bump due to the coronavirus pandemic requiring social distancing. Tybre was in attendance for Mr. Lewis’ funeral and read his idol’s favorite poem, “Invictus”. At the end of reading the poem, the young boy stated,

“John Lewis was my hero, my friend. Let’s honor him by getting in good trouble.”

Although he may be gone, the civil rights icon left one last letter before his passing, some messages for everyone to remember.

“Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring. When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.”

Rest In Power, Rep. John Lewis.

Authored by: Chelsea Adjalla