As the world continues to mourn the loss of Civil Rights leader and House Representative John Lewis, today his life is being celebrated at his official funeral service in Atlanta.
Our Forever President Barack Obama was one of three living U.S. Presidents that attended the service and spoke before everyone at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. During his eulogy, Obama spoke on the personal relationship he developed with Rep. Lewis, as well as his greatest contributions to our culture and American history.
He said, “It is a great honor to be back in Ebenezer Baptist Church, in the pulpit of its greatest pastor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to pay my respects to perhaps his finest disciple. An American whose faith was tested again and again to produce a man of pure joy, unbreakable perseverance. ”
He continued to talk about John Lewis’ fight throughout the years that has helped lead us to where we are today when it comes to the American political system. Obama urged Congress to honor Lewis’ legacy by demanding new voting rights legislation.
“You want to honor John? Let’s honor him by revitalizing the law that he was willing to die for,” said Obama.
He went on to say, “Once we pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, we should keep marching. To make it even better. And if all this takes eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic, in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that’s what we should do.”
Barack Obama added, “America was built by John Lewises. He, as much as anyone in our history, brought this country a little bit closer to our highest ideals. And someday, when we do finish that long journey towards freedom, when we do form a more perfect union, whether it’s years from now or decades, or even if it takes another two centuries, John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America.”
Other former presidents that were present during the service to speak and pay tribute Rep. Lewis were Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
On Thursday, ahead of the funeral service, Rep. Lewis’ final essay was officially published by the New York Times. He wrote the final essay shortly before his passing, and it was instructed to be published upon the day of his funeral.
In the essay, Lewis encouraged the next generation to continue the fight. He said,” While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world, you set aside race, class, age, language, and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.”
Read John Lewis’s final essay here.
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TSR STAFF: Jade Ashley @Jade_Ashley94