Today the remains of civil rights icon and ordained Baptist minister, Congressman John Robert Lewis traveled from Alabama to the nation’s capital to lie in state at the rotunda at the United States Capitol. There is no doubt that the hope John Lewis shared through his voice and presence will be missed. We were blessed to witness Congressman Lewis as he maintained hope, even in his final days, in the movement of civil rights. He was yet on the battlefield when his spirit went home to meet his Savior.
For us who remain on this side of glory, it was a moving sight to see the honor guard carry the casket up the stairs of the Capitol. Congressman Lewis is the first African American lawmaker to lie in state at the U S Capitol Rotunda. It is well deserved.
These past days, I have been reflecting on the details of John Lewis life that are a bit outside of his role as a politician. For me, it amplifies his genuine humanity and his tenacious belief that everyone has potential for good. For instance, did you know that John Lewis co-wrote three graphic novels about the civil rights movement. In 2015, he even did a cosplay of himself at Comic-Con International. He dressed as his 25 year-old self and put in his backpack the same items (save for an orange) that he packed on Bloody Sunday. Take a look and listen about him recreating the march with students at the 2015 Comic-Con International.
Of course, I have to mention one of my favorites, John Lewis crowd surfing on the Stephen Colbert Show. Truly, he was a man who was free in his enduring belief and trust in the good of humankind.
On March 7, 2000, Congressman John Lewis joined President Bill Clinton, Mrs. Coretta Scott King and others for the 35th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday voting rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. I mention this because my beloved dad was there as well. My dad was born and raised in Selma and he would not have missed this commemoration. I am grateful to have these memories to share.
Finally, I add my voice to those calling for a renaming of the bridge. Truth, it is well past time and renaming the bridge to the John Robert Lewis Bridge is a start towards rectifying the history of discrimination, segregation and the legacy of Bloody Sunday in Selma.