“We’ve got it from here, sir.”
On Sunday, July 26, 2020, Hundreds of people lined the streets in Selma, Alabama to watch the flag-draped coffin of Rep. John Lewis roll past in a horse-drawn caisson. The driver wore a fine suit of mourning. Several times he stood at the reins and lowered his top hat to cover his heart.
In 1965 when John Lewis started to cross this bridge with hundreds of others marching for voting rights, Alabama State Troopers beat and tear gassed them, shocking those watching on national TV. Now, as John Lewis rode across the bridge for the final time, men in blue police uniforms saluted, letting him pass with dignity. A CNN reporter said that as the coffin passed, people called out, “We’ve got it from here, John.”
We can’t let him down. We have to fix federal voting rights laws. Again.
A week before he died, I watched the documentary JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE. (Stream on Amazon Prime Video, You Tube, or Google Play Movies, for $6.99). After he’d been badly beaten as a Freedom Rider in the early 1960’s in the South, he said personal fear left him–because he knew that what he was doing was right and necessary.
Rep. Lewis died of pancreatic cancer. A dear friend of mine did too, a wasting, painful way to die. Rest in Peace.