Home WORLD NEWS Opinion | Remembering John Lewis, a Civil Rights Icon

Opinion | Remembering John Lewis, a Civil Rights Icon

by biasharadigest

To the Editor:

Re “John Lewis, Towering Figure of Civil Rights Era, Dies at 80” (nytimes.com, July 18):

Two great civil rights heroes died on Friday. One, of course, was Representative John Lewis, son of sharecroppers and a fearless apostle of nonviolence. The other was C.T. Vivian, a key adviser to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and also a brave disciple of nonviolence.

Both men endured physical assault. But neither man allowed his hurt to turn into hateful words or deeds.

Americans of all races and persuasions owe both Mr. Lewis and Mr. Vivian a profound debt of gratitude for risking their lives to help lead this nation toward liberty and justice for all.

May John Lewis and C.T. Vivian rest in peace. And may we do whatever we can to help achieve their still unfulfilled dream of racial justice, which must be our dream as well.

Bill Hollingsworth
Tulsa, Okla.
The writer is professor emeritus at University of Tulsa College of Law.

To the Editor:

The passing of Representative John Lewis reminds us of his great bravery, including his crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on Bloody Sunday 55 years ago in order to advance the cause of civil rights. At this moment of national reckoning on race, could there possibly be a better time to rename the bridge after Lewis instead of Pettus, a Confederate general?

Edwin Andrews
Marilyn Andrews
Malden, Mass.

To the Editor:

John Lewis was this nation’s conscience. He was a role model for many of us, a quintessential civil and human rights activist who consistently advocated nonviolence, and a caring elected official in Congress.

He tirelessly urged his fellow Americans to speak up in the face of injustice, to get involved and to participate actively in our democracy. John was a true believer and a special leader in the movement for a better America with freedom, justice and equality for all.

He will be missed greatly, especially during these unprecedented and difficult times.

Norman Siegel
New York
The writer is a civil rights lawyer.

To the Editor:

In 2009, my first year on the faculty of Juilliard’s drama division, I made a cold call to the office of Representative John Lewis to ask if he would visit the school and speak to our students. He accepted the invitation with his customary grace.

It fell to me to escort Mr. Lewis and his assistant to and from Penn Station. I was honored to do so and pleased to see how often he was recognized and thanked by passers-by.

I have studied a martial art for the past 48 years and have had the opportunity to be in the company of numerous formidable fighters. But it was only on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 32nd Street that I have ever felt I was walking next to a warrior.

René Houtrides
Jackson Heights, Queens

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