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John Lewis honored as 'founding father' of a better America

Ernie Suggs, Tia Mitchell and Maya T. Prabhu, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

Other speakers, great and small, gave their remembrances of Lewis.

Tybre Faw, a 12-year-old who once traveled seven hours to see Lewis and was greeted by a hug, read Lewis' favorite poem, "Invictus."

Atlanta icon Xernona Clayton left the audience chuckling after telling how she finagled to set up Lewis with his late wife Lillian Miles, and how long it took the relationship to get off the ground because the shy and reserved "John was too slow."

Because of the coronavirus, seating in the church was limited and hundreds watched from outside on a big screen.

As his casket was carried out, they sang "Good Trouble" and "We Shall Overcome."

"He was so special to so many of us," Chip Joyner said. "The movement for equality that we celebrate today, he started. I could not let the day go by without paying my last respects."


Earlier, wearing Lewis or Black Lives Matter T-shirts and masks, mourners lined Auburn Avenue to have their voices heard. Other's camped out beneath the John Lewis Mural Auburn Avenue, reminding others to vote.

Olu Burgess, a security consultant from the Augusta area, was taking photos at the nearby mural to send to relatives in Washington, D.C.

"He's our hero. He's our warrior and celebrating him is extremely important," he said stressing that Lewis' work not only benefited Black Americans but all Americans.

After the funeral, Lewis was taken to South-View Cemetery, where was buried next to his late wife Lillian.


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