One year after his funeral, friends and family of John Lewis rededicate Atlanta mural

Atlanta singer Toneisha Harris performed a song in honor of John Lewis.

Emil Moffatt/WABE News

Former Atlanta Mayor and U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young remembers meeting a young John Lewis and trying to put his finger on what made him special.

“He was not the kind of firebrand that we expected our leaders to be,” Young said. “But there was a quiet power about him.”

And, Young says, Lewis had courage.

“John Lewis was always about getting the job done,” Young said.

It was one year ago that Atlanta said a final goodbye to civil rights icon John Lewis at Ebenezer Baptist Church. On Friday, a few blocks west on Auburn Avenue, a crowd gathered underneath the towering mural of the late Georgia congressman to mark the occasion.

The John Lewis mural on Auburn Avenue was first painted in 2012 and was rededicated Friday. (Emil Moffatt/WABE)

Lewis took his fight for civil rights to Congress in 1986 and served more than three decades until his death of pancreatic cancer in 2020.

Stacey Abrams, who has followed in Lewis’ footsteps in fighting for voting rights, said Lewis battled for ideals, not just ideas. And she said he left behind a restless heart.

“Because, you know, the notion of a restless heart means that you’re never satisfied with the world as it is; that you believe you are obliged to make it better,” Abrams said. “And every day of John Lewis’ life was about making life better.”

Abrams and others used the moment to call on Congress to pass voting rights legislation named in Lewis’ honor.

The morning featured musical performances from Atlanta singer Toneisha Harris, cellist Brandon Leonard of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and the C.K. Farris Adult Handbell Choir from Ebenezer Baptist Church.