Today’s funeral of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis is the culmination of six days of events to celebrate his life. The events included a procession along the route of the Selma–to–Montgomery March for voting rights and his body lying in state in the U.S. Capitol, the Alabama Capitol and the Georgia Capitol.
Distinguished University Chair, Professor and Founding Director of the Racial Justice Initiative Yohuru Williams worked with New York City educators on a civics curriculum inspired by Lewis’ March, a graphic novel trilogy created to share Lewis’ story with new generations, and had the opportunity to share the stage with him on various occasions.
“He was such a tremendous human being,” Williams said in an interview with CBC. “If we think about his legacy with regard to civil rights or we talk about his three decades in Congress, that’s really only a part of the picture. If you got to know him personally, he was someone who was deeply committed to social justice, deeply committed to racial equality and someone who was always at the forefront of struggles with social justice here in the United States. In that sense, what we celebrate about his life is the fact that he’s someone who demonstrates the importance of living humbly for justice.”
Watch and listen to Williams’ memories of Lewis and another civil rights icon who recently passed away, Reverend C.T. Vivian. Williams also co-wrote a piece for The Progressive on the legacies of Lewis and Vivian.