July 17, 2020

Official Statement regarding Congressman John Lewis’ Passing
From Forrest E. Harris, President
American Baptist College

How ironic that both Civil Rights Icons, Rev. Dr. C. T. Vivian and Congressman John Lewis passed on the same day. Our hearts are deeply saddened.

John Robert Lewis was a humble non-violent warrior for justice; a great human spirit that blessed this nation and entire world as one who became deeply committed to “Redeeming the soul of America.”

This giant of a man sacrificially gave of himself, to the very end of his life, fully to the cause of building a better America. Coming to Nashville at a young age as a student at American Baptist College, John Lewis was captured by the dream of a world of fairness and equality, ideals of the beloved community. Congressman Lewis has secured a prominent place in the history of America’s “profiles in courage.” He never quit, never allowed fear of death to stop him, hate to keep him from loving enemies to reach justice, fighting with every ounce of his humanity against the status quo of American racial injustice.

Beginning in Nashville integrating segregated lunch counters, integrating interstate travel on the Freedom Rides throughout the South, marching in the cradle of the Confederacy for voting rights, his body bloodied receiving the violent blows; John Lewis never quit, never stopped marching pursuing justice.

John Lewis spoke before Martin Luther King, Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial declaring love and non-violence, and he never ceased believing in what America could become. American Baptist College, his alma mater, along with the entire nation will miss hearing the voice of Congressman John Lewis on the floor of the Congress, but his immortal gifts to us will be unceasing for generations to come.