JOHN LEWIS- THE “GENTLE GIANT”

john-lewis
Recently I met civil rights icon John Lewis. This gentleman is not very tall in stature but he could certainly be described as a gentle giant. This U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district who has been serving since 1987, has been on a mission most of his life. His continued legacy to “recognize the dignity and worth of every human being” looms large yet miniscule in comparison to what he has endured throughout the years. Any conversation regarding the struggle for civil rights has to include the name John Lewis. He is mostly known for being on the front lines (along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) of many protests in the ‘60s and certainly one of the key figures in the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965. This was the march where state troopers brutally attacked the crowd. Lewis can be prominently seen being beaten by the troopers with a night stick.
Despite the struggle then, Lewis is still continuing the fight for equal rights even to this day.
As of late, Lewis has been a trending name in the news for his public refusal to attend the inauguration of the current President-elect. John Lewis has stated that he does not consider this man to be a legitimate President because of the alleged interference of Russia in the November 8, 2016 election. After hearing of Lewis’ remarks, the current President-elect has made several immature statements about Lewis including a tweet that read in part “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart……..” The President-elect also immaturely tweeted that Lewis is “all talk, talk, talk”………
All talk, talk, talk is not the words that many would use to describe this Gentle Giant who has dedicated his life for the betterment of others. Check out some of the quotes from John Lewis:
“When I was growing up, my mother and father and family members said, ‘Don’t get in trouble. Don’t get in the way.’ I got in trouble. I got in the way. It was necessary trouble.”
“Second-class citizenship is not citizenship at all.”
“Courage is a reflection of the heart—it is a reflection of something deep within the man or woman or even a child who must resist and must defy an authority that is morally wrong. Courage makes us march on despite fear and doubt on the road toward justice. Courage is not heroic but as necessary as birds need wings to fly. Courage is not rooted in reason but rather Courage comes from a divine purpose to make things right.”
“People around the world will not be inspired by our missiles and our guns; they will be inspired by our ideas.”
“I have not accomplished everything I wanted to. I would like to, before I leave this little piece of real estate, do a little more for the cause of peace. To end the violence here at home and violence abroad. We spend so much of our resources killing each other.”
“We were determined not to let any act of violence keep us from our goal. We knew our lives could be threatened, but we had made up our minds not to turn back.”
“When Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, he helped free and liberate all of us.”
“I disagree with the court that the history of discrimination is somehow irrelevant today. The record clearly demonstrates numerous attempts to impede voting rights still exist, and it does not matter that those attempts are not as ‘pervasive, widespread or rampant’ as they were in 1965. One instance of discrimination is too much in a democracy.”
“Imagine that. I was beaten near to death at the Rock Hill Greyhound bus terminal during the Freedom Rides in 1961. Now the police chief is black.”
“We all recognize the fact that if any radical social, political and economic changes are to take place in our society, the people, the masses, must bring them about. In the struggle, we must seek more than civil rights; we must work for the community of love, peace and true brotherhood. Our minds, souls and hearts cannot rest until freedom and justice exist for all people.”
“I believe in nonviolence as a way of life, as a way of living. I believe that this idea is one of those immutable principles that is nonnegotiable if you’re going to create a world community at peace with itself.”
“I know maybe it won’t happen in my lifetime, but I know somehow in some way we’re going to create the Beloved Community, that we’re going to create a national community, a world community that is at peace.”
“When we were organizing voter-registration drives, going on the Freedom Rides, sitting in, coming here to Washington for the first time, getting arrested, going to jail, being beaten, I never thought—I never dreamed—of the possibility that an African American would one day be elected president of the United States.”
—John Lewis

John Lewis was a part of the “Big Six” leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and he has continued the fight for people’s rights.
There is now a growing list of Democrats, at least 42, who have indicated that they will boycott the inauguration on Friday to protest this criticism as well as the President-elect’s overall view of humanity. Today I salute this “gentle giant”, Congressman John Lewis.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH REVISITED

This is one of those must watch videos. Meet 106 year old Virginia McLaurin. Mrs. McLaurin was born in 1910 when William Taft was president.  She was married at the tender age of 14 and widowed at 17.  She has lived through 18 American presidents.

Two years ago in 2014, McLaurin received an award in her hometown, Washington, D.C. for volunteering. She spends that time with students who have mental disabilities. When she was given the award, she indicated to a reporter that her one wish was to meet the President of The United States. It took two years but she was invited to The White House this year for Black History Month.

McLaurin was so elated to see President Obama and The First Lady that she broke out in a dance.  This is truly a Black History Moment.

“I always tell people, live the best they know how,” she said. “Don’t steal. Don’t cheat.”

MEMORABLE MLK, JR QUOTES

mlk6mlk7

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a leader who, like Mahatma Gandhi before him, and Nelson Mandela after him, showed us the way from weakness and division to strength in unity.

He challenged and inspired us to reach deeper within ourselves, despite ourselves, for our best, which sometimes is, simply, better than yesterday. His power endures because it’s rooted in the courage to hold hope and faith in each others potential: “knowing” we can do it… we can be better every day, each in our own way.

On this, the U.S. holiday celebrating his life and legacy, I present you with ten of his extraordinary thoughts on leadership:
•”A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

•”I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.”

•”All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.”

•”Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

•”The time is always right to do the right thing.”

•”We must use time creatively.”

•”Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

•”The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.”

•”Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”

•”The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”

RACHAEL DOLEZAL RESIGNS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=b6_qKL1jROY

This lady did the right thing!  It is great that she has taken on the cause of Civil Rights, there is no question about that.  The question is:  Why the deception?  At this point, her continued presence would definitely be an unnecessary distraction for this organization.

Conversation about Dolezal as NAACP President has taken on a life of its’ own and has now gone international.

Her resignation in part reads as follows:

“It is with complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the NAACP that I step aside from the Presidency and pass the baton to my Vice President, Naima Quarles-Burnley”…….

“And yet, the dialogue has unexpectedly shifted internationally to my personal identity in the context of defining race and ethnicity”…..

On Friday, the NAACP had issued a statement of support of Dolezal.  Their statement indicated that they stand behind her advocacy record and that a person’s race does not qualify him or her from taking leadership roles within the organization.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: THE KING CENTER

Yesterday was one of those days…  A good day, that is.  Actually, every day is a good day but yesterday was one of those days that took me back a bit.  By back I mean all the way back to the Civil Rights Movement.  You see, yesterday I decided to go down to the King Center in Atlanta to take a few pictures so that I could post for Black History Month.  I did not see a sign that prohibited me from taking pictures and I’m not trying to profit off of the pictures I took so hopefully posting these pictures is lawful.  Of course, the trip (about 25 minutes from home) for me was so much more than that. It really made me appreciate the struggle for freedom even more as I began to see the images of blacks marching, being beaten with batons, being sprayed with water hoses, and so much more.  The struggle for freedom was so that generations of children would not have to endure some of the same challenges that were faced by our ancestors.

king5king8

As a child living in North Carolina, I personally can remember seeing a “whites only” fountain.  I can also remember having to sit in the balcony at the local movie theatre.  And all of this was in the 60’s.  I even remember going to segregated schools not by choice but because that is where we had to go.  My first experience with integration was when I went to the 5th grade.  I never faced some of the extreme hardships that some of our descendants faced but nonetheless, I can still identify with the struggle that they endured.

king9king4

While I was at the King Center, I not only thought about Dr. Martin Luther King but I  began to reflect on some of the names of the people like Hosea Williams, Ralph David Abernathy, Rosa Parks, Andrew Young, John Lewis(who I met recently), Jesse Jackson, and Coretta Scott King.  I began to wonder what our lives would look like today with these pioneers.  The sacrifice that they made for freedoms sake is poignant to say the least.

king2Dr. Martin Luther King Jr./Coretta Scott Kings Burial Siteking3

While there I had conversations with some of the people who were also there.  Some with their young kids, some of various races, some on a mission to also reflect back on what their lives too would look like without these legends who risked their lives for justice.  A black gentleman with his two young sons said to me that he really wanted his kids to get a good visual as to what things looked like for blacks in America just only a few decades ago.  As I stood in one place I overhead a young white lady say to her mother “this is just horrible.”  Pictures can only begin to tell the story of what has happened in the past, and in some instances what continues to happen even to this day.  There are still too many stories about blacks getting beaten or killed by white cops and we’re in 2015.  Let us to continue to march on…’til victory is won!        kingking1

king11The New Ebenezer Baptist Church

king12king6Clothes he wore on his journeyking7King had bling