I lost a dear acquaintance last week. Some who knew him personally called him the conscious of the nation. America lost U.S. Rep. John Lewis. I had an opportunity to meet him twice. I first met him in Chicago in 1968 while I was an editor of JET magazine. My boss, Robert Johnson, who was executive editor of the magazine, introduced me to Lewis.
The second time I met him was in 2000 when former Central Texas U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards brought him to Temple. He met with a small group at the Jeff Hamilton Community Center in July of that year. The group included former Temple city councilman George English, who was also president of the Temple NAACP.
In remembering him, we should remember that the struggle for equality is an enduring human struggle. The struggle against racism will not come easily and it is dangerous and painful.
I also hope that our youth will be taught about his life in a classroom setting. He was actually the architect of the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. His skull was fractured in that march. Our youth, and especially our minority youth need to know, that he was a Freedom Rider and the founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, better known as SNICK.
Lewis came from humble beginnings. He was the child of sharecroppers. He simply wanted equality and justice for all Americans regardless of race and color. He would say that he continually got in “good trouble.”
John Lewis kept the faith, finished his course, fought the good fight, and I believe a crown of righteousness has been awarded to him.
The Rev. Roscoe Harrison Jr.