John Lewis the American Citizen
John Lewis’ death is truly a loss; not for what he did as a Congressman, but for what he did as an American citizen.
He organized some of the voter registration efforts during the 1965 Selma voting rights campaign. To me one of the bravest most courageous battles he fought.
Leading the march, it was halted by police violence on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, a landmark event in the history of the civil rights movement that became known as “Bloody Sunday.”
He opened Freedom Schools, launched the Mississippi Freedom Summer project in which he registered black voters and organized communities. He undertook the study of nonviolent protest and became involved in sit-ins at lunch counters and other segregated public places.
He was the epitome of nonviolent protest, something we do not see today.
In 1961, while participating in the Freedom Rides that challenged the segregation of Southern interstate bus terminals, Lewis was beaten and arrested—experiences he would repeat often.
Despite being arrested 40 times and the physical attacks and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence.
While this minister of God was with us, I always had the desire to ask him a few questions. While I was never pertinent enough to do so, I feel the need to do so now.
First, as a black Southerner, knowing that the worst forms of racism in America came from and in many cases still exist, come from Southern Democrats; how can you justify being a Southern Democrat?
Second, as an ordained Baptist Minister, and the democratic party removing God from their platform, believing in the taking of an unborn babies’ life as well as the promoting of what God calls sin, specifically homosexuality and transgender lifestyles?
Third, in 1965 when you and many others were brutally beaten, arrested and unconstitutionally treated; would it be safe to say those who persecuted you on that day were racist, oppressors, tyrants, brutal, bullies, and violent?
Lastly, if you believe those adjectives accurately describe the persecutors on that day, which I sure they would; does it bother you that what is currently taking place in America today is in complete reversal of what took place on that bridge 55 years ago? In other words, the black movement has become violent and brutal, the black movement has become the persecutors, the racists, the bullies, the tyrants; does that bother you?
I do not ask these questions to be disrespectful; just the opposite, these are questions I always wanted to ask you because of the respect I had for you and your life before your politics.
Although I seldom if ever agreed with Congressman Lewis politically, I always respected the man personally. And despite not being able to ask HIM those questions; I pray that the Godly black leadership in America ask themselves those questions so we can a step towards bringing racial peace to America.