John Lewis asked the New York Times to publish his last essay on the day of his funeral – please take a few minutes to read – to share – to reference – to heed – and always – to continue to travel the distance that lies ahead – together.
“The brief essay that Representative John Lewis sent me [ Acting editorial page editor] two days before his death — to be published today, on the occasion of his funeral — expresses the hope for national healing and reconciliation that guided his life’s work For too many Americans, the civil rights movement is visible only in the rearview mirror of memory. Black and white photographs of demonstrators being attacked by police dogs and fire hoses; of lunch counters and schoolhouses, separate and unequal and in the past. Mr. Lewis lived that history, of course. But his most urgent plea was that the work of the civil rights movement remains unfinished, and that conscience commands us to look to the future. Important civil rights legislation sits stalled in Congress at this very moment, held up by the patently false assertion that racial discrimination no longer exists. Mr. Lewis served as a member of Congress for 33 years before his death from pancreatic cancer on July 17. Before ever being sworn in as a lawmaker, he’d already borne so much for America. Mr. Lewis’s moral authority “found its headwaters in the aggressive yet self-sacrificial style of protests that he and his compatriots in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee deployed in the early 1960s as part of the campaign that overthrew Southern apartheid,” the editorial board wrote in remembrance…”