Larger than life. Free at last.
I had the pleasure of serving with John Lewis in Congress for 17 years. It was the high honor of my life, in public service. He was the nations foremost authority and consistent Civil Rights activist. From the Edmund Pettis, to the Atlanta City Council, to the Congress of the United States, “Equal Justice under the law” was his life passion and work. Changing unjust laws and Championing fairness, equality and global human Rights was his mission and objective. Without changing the law the country could back slide into authoritarianism and tyranny. He was a leader who truly understood that the movement was about changing law, and with changed law, a changed collective behavior could result.
I salute and honor a man whose life’s work took into account my life and your life, all of our lives. He not only fought for our “right to vote,” the vote he fought for, expanded our right to education opportunity, our right to desegregated middle class home ownership, our right to medical coverage and workplace fairness, including equal pay for equal work, the opposite of chattel slavery, he expanded our life options by giving us the tool, to participate in the process that secured our rights and liberty. He slowed, altered and changed the course of our judicial system and saved scores of us, thousands of us, from public and private lynchings. Those are just some of the things that come from the right to vote, that he secured on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in 1965.
The events of the Edmund Pettis Bridge were so profound that the President of the United States Lyndon Johnson, initially a segregationist from Texas, had this to say, “At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama.” ￼
John Lewis was a modern Founding Father. It is hard to date reality in the modern world without the Edmund Pettis Bridge being a turning point in modern thinking. In fact for today’s generation it is impossible to even imagine the world that existed before the Edmund Pettis￼ Bridge.
God was with us, God was in our midst, Providence provided us an Edmund Pettis Bridge and guided us across the Red Sea that day. Did you expect a different response from Pharoahs army?
Pancreatic cancer attacked his body, but he remained strong in mind, body, and spirit. A perfect unity￼. No splitting, no differentiating. He was an angel of destiny.
He rose to the highest heights of human dignity and human respect all over the world￼ a giant of humility and human spirit.