Local

The Life And Legacy Of John Lewis Remembered Ahead Of Funeral At Ebenezer

Mourners stand in line awaiting to pass by the casket of Rep. John Lewis as Lewis lies in repose at the state capital Wednesday in Atlanta.
Mourners stand in line awaiting to pass by the casket of Rep. John Lewis as Lewis lies in repose at the state capital Wednesday in Atlanta.
Credit Brynn Anderson / Associated Press
'Add to My List' icon 'Added to My List' icon Add to My List In My List

Friends of Georgia Congressman John Lewis remembered the late congressman’s life and legacy on Thursday ahead of his funeral.

Lewis represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District for more than three decades from 1987 until his death earlier this month from pancreatic cancer.

Lewis’ family and close friends will gather for a private funeral service at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church at 11:00 a.m.

At his funeral, the arc of Lewis’ life and civil rights legacy will once again tie into the history of Ebenezer’s former Pastor Martin Luther King Jr., a close ally whom Lewis called his leader.

Lewis discovered King’s sermons while scanning the radio dial as a 15-year-year old boy growing up in rural Alabama.

King continued to inspire Lewis’ civil rights work for the next 65 years.

Lewis died July 17 at the age of 80. Lewis, many say, worked to get us in “good trouble.” And he served as a beacon of light, a symbol of hope for so many Georgians.

His body was brought to the city Wednesday for one of the last memorial services before his burial. People lined the streets as the hearse moved through downtown, where he was lauded as a warrior and a hero at a ceremony in the Capitol rotunda.

Members of the public were later allowed inside to pay their respects.  Many people stood outside well into the evening to say their good-byes.

Notable Georgians shared their memories and thoughts on Lewis on WABE’s “Morning Edition.”

MARTIN LUTHER KING III, Civil Rights Activist

Martin Luther King III, was one of the first people to file past the late Congressman’s casket in the Georgia Capitol building rotunda. He says did so with joy and not sorrow. King is the eldest son of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Like his father’s work, King says, the legacy of John Lewis is “one for the ages.” He spoke with “Morning Edition” outside on the Capitol steps Wednesday with his 12-year-old daughter, Yolanda by his side.

Martin Luther King III

ANDREW YOUNG, Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Ambassador Andrew Young says it’s time to prepare for new leadership. Young is one of the few remaining icons who led and took part in the civil rights movement along with Lewis. He tells WABE’s “Morning Edition,” the torch is slowly being passed to the next generation.

Ambassador Andrew Young

FELICIA MOORE, President of the Atlanta City Council

Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore is one of many who will salute the life of John Lewis this morning. She told “Morning Edition,” she will embrace the day’s service with her fond memories of the late Congressman. But Moore says it will be hard to say goodbye.

Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore

REP. BILLY MITCHELL (D) District 88 Georgia House of Representatives

State Rep. Billy Mitchell, is one of 16 legislators chosen to escort the body of John Lewis from the State Capitol to Atlanta’s Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Before making that trek, Mitchell talked to “Morning Edition” about what he calls a privilege.

State Rep. Billy Mitchell