“Too often in this country, seeming progress is derailed, reversed, or overwhelmed. Bloody Sunday led directly to the passage of the Voting Rights Act — and yet suppressing the black vote is a pillar of today’s Republican Party strategy.
“The election of the first African-American President was followed by a bigot running for election, and now reëlection, on a platform of racism and resentment. The murder of Jesse Thornton has its echoes in the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others. Indeed, to this day, the bridge where Lewis nearly lost his life is named in honor of Edmund Pettus, a U.S. senator who was a Confederate officer and a Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan.
“And so there were times when Lewis, who died on Friday, at the age of eighty, might have felt the temptation at times to give up, to give way. But it was probably his most salient characteristic that he always refused despair; with open eyes, he acknowledged the darkest chapters of American history yet insisted that change was always possible.
“Recently [Lewis] took part in a Zoom town hall with Barack Obama and a group of activists, and told them that he had been inspired by the weeks of demonstrations for racial justice across the country. The protesters, he said, will ‘redeem the soul of America and move closer to a community at peace with itself.'” — from “John Lewis’s Legacy and America’s Redemption,” posted by The New Yorker‘s David Remnick on 7.18.20.