Atlanta, Georgia: US and the World Say Goodbye to Civil Rights Icon John R. Lewis.

John Lewis beaten in Selma, Alabama in 1965

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The late African-American Civil Rights icon John R Lewis's funeral was held on July 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia, US. The funeral and memorial service was attended by several high profile individuals, including Former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, the US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, and the current Atlanta mayor Keisha Bottoms, among others. It was held at Ebenezer Baptist Church, formerly led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at which John Lewis was a member.

The speakers at the funeral included Church leaders, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, former members of Lewis’s staff, activists, and other politicians.

JenniferHolliday Lewis Burial 1

Jennifer Holliday, a Broadway actor and a star gospel singer performed touching hymns and songs, including “Only What You Do for Christ Will Last,” and “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”.

Obama Lewis Burial 2

President Barack Obama gave remarks that eulogized the historical Civil Rights achievements, including the lifelong struggle for Voting Right by Lewis and the civil rights challenges faced by the United States of America, today.

President Barack Obama said: "They had understood through him what American citizenship requires, even if they had only heard about his courage through the history books. “By the thousands, faceless, anonymous, relentless young people, black and white have taken our whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.” Dr. King said that in the 1960s, and it came true again this summer. We see it outside our windows in big cities and rural towns. In men and women, young and old, straight Americans and LGBTQ Americans, blacks who long for equal treatment and whites who can no longer accept freedom for themselves while witnessing the subjugation of their fellow Americans. We see it in everybody doing the hard work of overcoming complacency, of overcoming our own fears and our own prejudices, our own hatreds. You see it in people trying to be better, truer versions of ourselves...
And that’s what John Lewis teaches us. That’s where real courage comes from. Not from turning on each other, but by turning towards one another. Not by sowing hatred and division, but by spreading love and truth. Not by avoiding our responsibilities to create a better America and a better world, but by embracing those responsibilities with joy and perseverance, and discovering that in our beloved community, we do not walk alone. What a gift John Lewis was. We are all so lucky to have had him walk with us for a while and show us the way. God bless you all. God bless America. God bless this gently soul who pulled it closer to its promise."

President George W. Bush said: "There’s a story in the old scriptures that meant a lot to John. In the Hebrew Bible, the Lord is looking for a prophet. Whom shall I send, God wonders and who will go for us? Isaiah answers, here am I, send me. John Lewis heard that call a long time ago in segregated Alabama. And he took up the work of the Lord through all his days. His lesson for us is that we must all keep ourselves open to hearing the call of love, the call of service, and the call to sacrifice for others".

President Bill Clinton said: "John Lewis was many things but he was a man. A friend and sunshine in the storm. A friend who would walk the stony roads that he asked you to walk. That would brave the chastening rods he asks you to be whipped by, always keeping his eyes on the prize, always believing none of us will be free until all of us are equal."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “So when he spoke, people listened. When he led, people followed .. As his official family, we mourn him greatly. He shared so much with his love for his district, his family, the sadness when Lillian was sick, the joy he had in John Miles. But as I said, we waved goodbye to this person, our leader, our friend, this, shall we say humorous, he loved to dance, he loved to make us laugh sometimes while he was dancing.”.

Rep. John R. Lewis, the civil rights icon whose fight for racial justice began in the Jim Crow south and ended in the halls of Congress, died Friday night, July 17, 2020. He was 80 old (See AfroAmerica Network: US Rep. John Lewis, Civil Rights and Racial Justice Icon, Passes Away at 80.)