John Lewis, 1940 – 2020

I only met John Lewis a few times, starting back in 1963 during preparations for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. His style of quiet leadership, thoughtfulness about the broadest possible range of ideas and achievement possible in political action is what impressed me most.

Reflection is becoming my greatest enemy. Not because of diminished goals, issues won or lost; but, other folks I would have consulted, discussed and debated tactics and standards – and would love to do so, today – are gone. Like John Lewis.

I’ve not only outlived some of the worst enemies of progress – but, many of those I joined, side by side, in battle against bigots and bigotry, class warfare, imperial armies deployed to war against colonial freedom-fighters – many of those are gone, now, as well.

Still, these battles continue to be fought by folks of all ages, many ideologies. Fightback derives from knowledge and inspiration as much as from repression. Resentful and backwards politicians inevitably feed the bravery of those who rise up to oppose their criminal path.

For now, we will mourn John. Tomorrow, we rejoin the battle, as he would wish.

2 thoughts on “John Lewis, 1940 – 2020

  1. Memento mortuorum. says:

    President Trump on Monday said he does not plan to visit the U.S. Capitol over the next two days to pay his respects to Rep. John Lewis, the Democratic congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon who died earlier this month.
    Asked at a briefing last week whether the president planned to attend the memorial services for Lewis in Washington, D.C., press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she was not aware of such plans.
    “John Lewis was a civil rights icon; we lowered the flag at the White House here to signify that,” she said.

    State troopers and and a group of white men deputized into a posse by the sheriff attacking John Lewis and hundreds of other peaceful protesters in Selma Alabama on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965.

  2. p/s says:

    “My Friend John Lewis” By Danny Lyon (New York Review of Books august 21, 2020)
    “In conjunction with the exhibition “Danny Lyon: Message to the Future”, the Whitney hosted a conversation between Congressman John Lewis and artist Danny Lyon on July 15. Lewis and Lyon first met in the early 1960s, when the Congressman was serving as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Lyon was the organization’s first official photographer.”
    [Whitney Museum of American Art ]

    “Representative John Lewis in Conversation with Danny Lyon” (August 9th, 2020. Video 56:12)

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