And he believed in us. Former President Barack Obama took the opportunity during his eulogy for Rep. John Lewis to raise awareness about ongoing efforts to stifle voting in the US on the eve of a presidential election. Lawmakers from both parties said almost immediately there was no likelihood the election would be delayed. "He told us so many stories, he taught us so much and he took us to Selma," she said, adding that Lewis "insisted on the truth" wherever he went, including in Congress. Former President Barack Obama called Congressman John Lewis “an American whose faith was tested again and again to produce a man of pure joy and unbreakable perseverance.”, “Now this country is a constant work in progress," Obama continued. "You might call him a little bit of an instigator," Thompson said in her remarks. "With Mr. Lewis, he always saw you and made you feel special and worthy," she said. "We wave goodbye to this person, our leader, our friend. He added, "John wouldn't want us to stop there. A man just drove over 1,200 miles to Texas so he could vote, Election Live Updates: Americans go to the polls as bruising campaign ends, The states where you can register to vote on Election Day, Report cites militia activity risk amid fears of Election Day unrest, Pennsylvania voters head to polls as race tightens in key state, The races that could determine who controls the Senate, A guide to the election's top ballot initiatives, The pivotal post-Election Day dates you need to know. In an implicit reference to today's politics and the recent nationwide protests, Mr. Obama noted how cameras had captured the 1965 march. "The record should be clear on his immense pride in representing Georgia's 5th Congressional District. Lewis was beaten and by state troopers and his skull was fractured that day. Three former presidents came together to honor Congressman John Lewis at his funeral in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday, completing a week of … Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was laid to rest at South-View before being moved to the Martin Luther King Center. He also voiced support for eliminating the filibuster in order to pass these reforms. It's another step down the very, very long road toward freedom, justice for all humankind. He excoriated the states that raised obstacles to voting after the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act, saying it was "not a mystery or an accident" that these states mainly made it difficult for minority Americans to vote. "Under the dome of the U.S. Capitol, we have bid farewell to some of the greatest Americans in our history," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of the man she called the "conscience of Congress." Mr. Obama called Lewis' life an "exception" that showed Americans how to fulfill the promises of its founding. Raphael Warnock speaks at the funeral of Congressman John Lewis at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on July 30, 2020. final trip across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, telling "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King. "I believe he spent every waking moment paying it forward.". "When he spoke, people listened. When he led, people followed. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also spoke at the service, and a letter from former President Jimmy Carter, who did not attend, was read. We are all so lucky to have had him walk with us for a while, and show us the way.". As family, colleagues and friends looked on, Rev. To make it even better. Obama went on to describe Lewis' work as a young civil rights activist. An honor guard carried the congressman's casket to his final resting place.
"We're here today because he had the kind of character he showed when he lost an election," Mr. Clinton said, to applause. ", "The story that began in Troy isn't ending here today, nor is the work," Mr. Bush said, adding Lewis will "live forever in the heart of Americans who act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God. BeBe Winans wrote "Good Trouble" in honor of Lewis. ", Mr. Clinton noted that Lewis "left us with marching orders" in his op-ed in the New York Times, published on the day of his funeral. King called on the country to get into "good trouble" until there is a livable wage, until there is housing equality, and until there is an end to white supremacy. He called on Congress to pass reforms including allowing felons to vote, making Election Day a federal holiday and implementing automatic voter registration. Rep. John Lewis' funeral has ended. / CBS NEWS. "This time, the world saw what happened, bore witness to Black Americans who were asking nothing but to be treated like other Americans," Mr. Obama said. In the piece, Lewis urged Americans to continue to get into "good trouble." He told an anecdote about how Lewis lost the chairmanship of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as a young man, and observed that this taught him the importance of humility. In 1965, Lewis was among hundreds of activists who marched for voting rights from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital of Montgomery. He always thought of others. Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved. ", Mr. Bush began by recalling Lewis' days as a young boy growing up in Alabama who would preach to his chickens and joked that his refusal to eat one of the birds in his flock "was his first act of nonviolent protest.". Lewis "was here on a mission" to advocate for civil rights, Mr. Clinton said, and he noted that Lewis "left us with marching orders" in his op-ed in the New York Times, published on the day of his funeral. "And with a sense of determination and commitment and dedication, there will be no turning back. South-View Cemetery, chartered in 1886, is one of the oldest cemeteries in the American south without restrictions based on race or creed. ", House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reflected on Lewis' 33 years in Congress, during which he represented Georgia's 5th Congressional District, and the lessons he taught the legislative body.
He was arrested during those demonstrations but continued his commitment to the movement. ", Pelosi said the congressman "wanted us to see the civil rights movement and the rest through his eyes.". ", Former President George W. Bush was the first among the living presidents in attendance to pay tribute to Lewis, saying Americans live in a country that is better today because of the late congressman 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. We all live in the same house — not just American house, but the world house.". "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," Lewis wrote in his op-ed. Yahoo is part of Verizon Media. He also spoke in personal terms about his relationship with Lewis, and described the congressman's early activism, calling Lewis "perhaps (Martin Luther King Jr.'s) finest disciple.". Lewis dedicated his life to fighting for civil rights and equality. One person heartened by the sight of thousands of Americans taking to the streets to demand justice following the death of George Floyd was Rep. John Lewis. We're one family.' “John’s life was exceptional,” Obama said in a statement following Lewis’s death. In his eulogy, former President Bill Clinton referred to Lewis as "a man I loved for a long time." We loved him very much," Pelosi said. "It is fitting that John Lewis joins this pantheon of patriots resting upon the same catafalque as President Abraham Lincoln.". He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor," Lewis wrote, noting that "[Till] was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. Funeral director Darrell Watkins said some words and mourners each placed a long stemmed white rose on the casket. BeBe Winans and Marvin Winans performed the song publicly for the first time today at Lewis' funeral. "You want to honor John? ", Thompson said she and Lewis' staff are heartbroken and lost, but said "we cannot, we must not get lost in the sea of despair. It's not an either/or situation, it's a both/and situation," Mr. Obama continued. The funeral service for Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon known as the "conscience of the U.S. Congress," began at 11 a.m. Thursday, wrapping up … In Congress, he was widely respected by members on both sides of the aisle for his pivotal role in making the nation more equal. "I, like so many Americans, owe a great debt to John Lewis and his forceful vision of freedom," Mr. Obama, the first Black president, said. Some context: Obama's remarks came just hours after President Trump floated the idea of delaying November's presidential election, lending voice to persistent concerns that he will seek to circumvent voting in a contest where he currently trails his opponent by double digits.
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