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IN MEMORIAM: The World Mourns A True Icon and Freedom Fighter - John Lewis 1940-2020

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia | 7/21/2020, 9:35 a.m.
Somewhere it’s raining. Somewhere the heavens have opened up, reflecting the tears that are falling across the globe as news ...
Lewis announced late last year that he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. However, stalwart in his resolve to fight until the end, he refused to quit the struggle. “I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,” he said, “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now." Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons

Somewhere it’s raining. Somewhere the heavens have opened up, reflecting the tears that are falling across the globe as news of the death of civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) spreads.

Somewhere it’s raining. Somewhere the heavens have opened up, reflecting the tears that are falling across the globe as news of the death of civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) spreads.

The legislator, freedom fighter and justice warrior, who was famously beaten, bloodied and arrested in Selma, Alabama — and in other cities across the Jim Crow South — during the struggle for civil rights and racial equality, was 80.

His death came just hours after another the passing of another civil rights icon, Rev. C.T. Vivian, who was 95.

National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO, and comrade in arms with both Rev. Vivian and Lewis, expressed the devastation he and the world feel at the loss of the two revered giants.

Chavis, like Vivian and Lewis, worked with and was a disciple of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He said the world would miss Lewis’s “good trouble,” quoting Lewis’s famous call to arms. “The Honorable John Lewis was a longtime master freedom fighter who set the eternal example of how and why we all should fight for the freedom and equality of all humanity,” Chavis remarked.

“May Lewis now have his rest in peace. As for those of us who worked with him and [those] who marched with him, we must keep fighting for freedom and equality with renewed vigor, courage and energy. Black Lives Matter.”

During the NNPA’s 2020 Virtual Annual Convention earlier this month, attendees were treated to a free screening of the documentary, John Lewis: Good Trouble, provided by the Census Bureau. Lewis was also a strong advocate for Census registration.

As he’d done earlier to honor Rev. Vivian, former president Barack Obama expressed his sorrow.

“John Lewis – one of the original Freedom Riders, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the youngest speaker at the March on Washington, leader of the march from Selma to Montgomery, Member of Congress representing the people of Georgia for 33 years – not only assumed that responsibility, he made it his life’s work,” Obama observed.

“He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise. And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.”

The former president recalled his last meeting with Lewis.

“It’s fitting that the last time John and I shared a public forum was at a virtual town hall with a gathering of young activists who were helping to lead this summer’s demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Afterward, I spoke to him privately.

“He could not have been prouder of their efforts – of a new generation standing up for freedom and equality, a new generation intent on voting and protecting the right to vote, a new generation running for political office,” Obama recounted.