A private funeral for U.S. Rep. John Lewis, the late civil rights icon and voting rights warrior known for what he called “getting into good trouble” as one of the non-violent protesters and young leaders who marched alongside the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s, was held today (Thursday)at Atlanta Ga.’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Today’s service was private, but the public paid tribute to Lewis in several services spanning six days.
Today’s service was attended by dignitaries and members of Congress as well as three previous U.S. presidents who spoke, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Former President Jimmy Carter was not in attendance but sent a condolence letter that was read. Current President Donald Trump did not attend.
Obama was the last to speak, delivering the eulogy. Among his remarks, Obama encouraged attendees that the best way to honor Lewis was to keep marching and continuing Lewis’ passion for voting rights for all Americans which resulted in passage of the Voting Rights Act during the Johnson administration.
Obama said there is a current effort to try and dismantle everything Lewis and others risked their lives for.
“Democracy isn’t automatic, Obama said.”” It has to be nurtured, tended to—we have to work at it.” Obama said that because Lewis knew that, we now have to continue to do everything we can to create a true democracy for everyone in order to ensure “ a big, vibrant inclusive America.”
Referring to biblical scripture several times during his remarks Obama said, “As the Lord said to (the Apostle) Paul, ‘do not be silent for I am with you and no one will do anything to harm you because I have many in my city who are my people’.” So, Obama continued, “ Like John, we’ve got to vote...’keep getting into good trouble.’ Like John we don’t have to choose between protest and politics…we have to translate our passions and causes into laws. Like John we’ve got to fight even harder for the most powerfiul tool we have ,which is the right to vote. That’s why John crossed that bridge.”
Service Concluded Six Days of Homegoing Celebrations Lewis’ family had encouraged mourners to be safe and organize “John Lewis Virtual Love Events” in their homes to watch the ceremonies. They also asked the public to tie a blue or purple ribbon on their front doors or in their front yards to commemorate the civil rights leader’s life.
They can post video, photos, songs, or any kind of virtual tribute to Rep. Lewis at #BelovedCommunity or #Human Dignity or leave a written tribute at www.johnlewislegacy.org.
Below is the order of various celebrations,some public and some private that took place leading up to today’s final celebration.
The Boy From Troy, Saturday, July 25,Troy, AL and Selma, AL:A Service Celebrating “The Boy from Troy”,Trojan Arena, Troy University,10 a.m. – 11 a.m. CT Rep. Lewis Lies in Repose at Trojan Arena, Troy University, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. CT
Selma Honors Congressman John Robert Lewis: 1940-2020 at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church—6 p.m. – 8 p.m. CT
Rep. Lewis Lies in Repose at Brown Chapel A.ME. Church—8 p.m. – 11 p.m. CT “#Good Trouble: Courage, Sacrifice & the Long March for Freedom”—Sunday, July 26, Selma, AL and Montgomery, AL—The Final Crossing: Edmund Pettus Bridge—10 a.m. CT Receiving Ceremony, Alabama State Capitol, Front Entrance Hall, State Capitol—2 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. CT—Rep. John Lewis Lies in State, Alabama State Capitol—3 p.m. – 7 p.m. CT The Conscience Of The Congress, Washington, D.C.—Monday, July 27 and Tuesday, July 28: Special Ceremony (Invitation-only), Rotunda, United States Capitol—Mon., July 27, 1:30 pm.
Rep. John Lewis Lies in State—United States Capitol: Mon., July 27, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Tues., July 28, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Given COVID-19 precautions, Rep. Lewis lay in state at the top of the East Front Steps of the U.S. Capitol for the public viewing, and hundreds from the public filedpast on the East Plaza.
Atlanta’s Servant Leader, Atlanta, GA—Wednesday, July 29:Special Ceremony,Rotunda, Georgia State Capitol—2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Rep. John Lewis Lies in State—Rotunda, Georgia State Capitol, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.and 8 p.m. – 8 a.m.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Omega Service, Rotunda, Georgia State Capitol,7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Masonic Last Rites: Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia—8 p.m. – 9 p.m.
A Lifetime of Service—Atlanta, GA, Thursday, July 30: A Celebration of Life, Ebenezer
Baptist Church Horizon Sanctuary, 11 a.m. Interment, South-View Cemetery (private.)