Transcript for Family, friends gather at Brown Chapel for Rep. John Lewis service
Now report. To extend. Good morning and welcome as we celebrate the life and the legacy of John Lewis called the conscious that congress is civil rights icon a legend. In the fight for civil rights in America now being laid to rest sixties when morals across the country that is the scene in Selma Alabama right now. At the metropolitan Chapman off. Are sharing. Over and over. And our nation is better off because John Roberts. My life. Selma. That is Carr's commentary shall. Oral. John and Robert. So thank you can thank you to his daily news them. Although. John's love was unique and all yeah it was powerful. You don't it ratings. I don't isn't here we are so deep. He won't ever change tell my hand this nation. Monday Sunday in 1960. John was good running back Alabama's state troopers and their dogs. Maybe he would Billy clubs to fracturing his own. But John. And to my great quality. Own life on the line in the owners and a brighter future. Morgan who. John Cross bridges Sony. Insisting that our nation live up to ideals on which it was founded. As he always said. He gave a look at an average. As always John. Was humble and his humility and rang true. She takes his final march. I don't want. John bravest women yeah that sell nothing divide and our political parties working every day awards. Notable American and my heart is all knowing that in Johnny's crossing that Selma bridge today it is by Omar and his final march. Should that I don't crossing so different from the first speaks to the legacy he leaves behind and the lives that he has changed. Is poetic justice that time Alabama State troopers will seat John to his safety. They will accompany him on his last trip over the Selma bridge and onto Montgomery where he will lie in state at the capitol. John has left this earth but his legacy that remains. On. And we continue to benefit from his life's work. He's laying out the blueprint. For us to pick up a baton. And continue his march. For voting rights first double writes for human rights. John believe firmly that the best days of our nation lie ahead of us. I hope his passing posit does to rededicate ourselves to getting into good trouble. Necessary trouble. Can't you hear him. Never get god. Never get again. Keep the fate. Keep your eyes. On the prize for. John and our nation. Let's make him proud. This comes from Terri Sewell an Alabama. Banana I'm musical selection from Kristen Glover. Martin artist. Lover. Brand. New. She it's rule. A big loud and well and O. And Madden these stand. And an empty home. I am we. Oh and yeah. War and. Room oh. I guru. Yeah. Good. A yeah. Soon. Man. Alone. And I. Are then. It alone. We. And mile look. Mean. New rule. Well those jury he. I was sure yeah. Little did you pat knew ye. Or and not not. Ayala and I. I. I. Moon. He. Fool. Oh yeah and now aren't. Out while Honolulu. I obtain. You're at Harris and. God. And didn't media. Yeah. I. Christine lever. Ten hour prayer by pastor Otis culinary. The tabernacle Baptist Church in sound. If you look for pain. All were we were years. God of hours silent tears. Thou who has brought us thus far. All the way. That was that might that is into the light keep us. Live in that have we Torre. Who is gracious father we come before your presence this morning. Where everything you as our god. Understanding that it is you who have made us and that we ourselves. That we are the sheep of your pasture and it is being used that we real move in have being. We thank you for this day. We thank you for life and another opportunity. To serve you this day in Bilbao you'll purposes in the world. We thank you lord for. This occasion. Because we have a civil doll sales here to give thanks to you. Well life will Lille to. Thank you for congressman John Lewis. Thank you father for his legacy. His legacy. Believe freedom strike fighter. His legacy of being a foot soldier for justice. The legacy of being a servant of humanity. Kathy Walt normally. We view. And as he always. Remember it is roofs. And always. Strive Austro strived so that this world could be a bit a place. Eight more global world the world that it is more just and more righteous. Thank you for his service to humanity. Thank you lord that he was willing to get in the way thank you that he was willing to historic good trouble. Thank you for his voice. The voice that were resonate and our hearts and minds for years. And generations to come. Thank you for his message. Thank you lord for using him. For such a time to exist. To breathe still lives in and help us becoming more perfect union. I pray this morning for his family. Our prewar that you will comfort them as only you can that you are on the current there with your strength and grant them your grace. I pray for your peace. That's a path of all understanding to guard their hearts. And their minds to crush Jesus all more time. The lord I pray that we who are steel wall remaining. Who steel helped blow that run a warm and all things. That we tune will stand for justice. So we will stand for righteousness. That we wool mill doll voices. For you. Bill fell forces. For the calls that is just SpinRite. And kill we hear you'll welcome voice. Say well done. Good and faithful servant. Asked congressman Lewis calls this Alabama river. We rejoice today knowing that he's our way to each crawls. The Jordan River. And he's now are resting. In your presence. In Jesus mighty name we pray and ask all these things. He man. Pastor Otis Culver. I'm standing duty charitable image or use. Structured program we just have a few notes that we need to give everyone. First and foremost if we can just show some appreciation to the congress in Selma Alabama as we prepare program together. For the final crossing an embezzlement bridge by John and Louis. Fed cherished the brown chapel AME church. Was the place where they prepared for the march on March 7 1965. But Bloody Sunday we. There's a place them preparing me for the final farewell. To John Lewis very much and involved in nineteen feet and as we prepare for that let's listen to John Lewis. So called bad day at ones who were today. In 1965. In Selma Alabama only two point 1% of blacks are voting age her district will. The only time you could attempt to register to vote for himself small animals but Ronald Sloan news. First and third Mondays of each it would amount to become a court house. Stand in line put some steps. To a set of Dublin tools and try to get a copy of the so called news. Yeah. Okay. Americans do. They. Millions like me. Trying to protect his mother. An invitation to courthouse. When he was shot in Islamabad stay true. A few days later he died at a local hospital himself. The calls of what happened to him we made a decision to move. There we will march from Selma tomorrow night. To dramatize the nation. People look Carlo. Sunday afternoon march 7 1960 farm about the church. Crossing bid that is over his personality and river. We get to the highest point in the history of download movies solely a sea of little. Continue to walk. And a man identified himself is that major John twelve and Alabama State troopers. This is an unlawful monitor would not be allowed to continue. And he has diminished and I. In the majors here. To boost live and even as my. Symptoms you. I was sitting here. Burst into tonight's game. I thought I was wounded. Did they became known as religious and it was a sense of righteous indignation all of customer. Can exceed it would demonstration and more than navy's citizen. At the White House. To Department of Justice the American people didn't like to do so have. Some didn't sparked a movement from voting right to begin their of the Edmund pettis bridge in Selma Alabama. Officials god is there for us today racial in 1965. That bridge was stained with the blood this morning this line with a rose petals. That's exactly right Georgia was stained with John lewis' blood and today and rose petals. On the very streets where he bled for the right to vote hundreds gathering here today to honor the civil rights icon. A man who never saddled. Who always stacked up always skies are necessary trouble as he would stay in. Flowers at the foot of the bridge here. And you know in 196555. Years ago when John Lewis marched across this bridge with hundreds of others he looked up had been named Edmund pettis. The bridge named after I kkk leader he was dreaming of a better mayor patents and he was willing to put his body on the line four X. And today when he crosses this bridge for the final time. Many here say it is because he has. Named America a better place. What was once a symbol of injustice is now a symbol of hope and civil rights for so many and Alabama State troopers who nearly took his life in decades ago what now. Cary his casket across this state as we honor. His legacy storage into Rachel and bring in Byron Pitts Angkor. Nightline Byron. He was just 25 then but a man filled with courage. Or George without question he was a Twain five mural activist. An idealist. A man of deep and abiding faith. I talk about how he prayed as he cross that bridge the Edmund pettis bridge differentials said named after a confederate officer. Cool it on to be a leader in the kkk and a US senator from the state of Alabama. Beverage George has about four football fields long. John Lewis says he was crossing in his biggest concern to say confront a police before. His biggest concern concern was that they might be tossed off the bridge which is about a hundred feet off the ground because. John Lewis couldn't swim. But he was willing to go forward anyway I think probably just audit that image of his close friend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said not long after. Bloody Sunday. That the arm of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. And I think in some ways today symbolizes that pride in 1965. John Lewis was an agitator he was confront about the police he showed up with. 600 other people they crossed a bridge they were denied they came that two weeks later. 3000. Protesters. Eventually 50000 people reached the Montgomery state house and then there is today George when John Lewis crosses a bridge for a final time. He won't go across this time dollar mansion with millions. Of Americans. People across the world who now see this. Former activists as a statesman. As a symbol of what is good in America. And if you think you need a barn in Pierre Thomas says that we prepare for this to happen right now we remember. That after those events somebody's who Bloody Sunday just several months later the voting rights act was introduced. And passed through the congress John Lewis helped spark a movement it comes at a time right now in America where the streets are filled again. Towards what a remarkable there you're exactly right it's about coming full circle. There's a timing and a meaning to life. John Lewis fighting for civil rights through peaceful process standing on that bridge is my colleagues that named after a man who was a senior officer in the confederate army. Who later became a US senator. Facing a brigade a police official and forces of oppression. In that moment you can see the roots of mistrust today between African Americans and the police beat angry mob was the police the police beat him down. We look back at pictures of Lewis from that area she looks just like only young people today. Pushing for racial justice as part of the black lives matter movement. He identify with him one of them to get into good trouble. It was quite something to see him down on black cloud splatter. Black clouds and out of plaza recently. It here in DC George emotional it was full circle. The battle today still some of those around human dignity the desire today for African Americans should be treated equally in society with full respect. And sadly African Americans are still fighting for their full humanity. They don't want to be treated as suspects first and citizens seconds. John Lewis whose life was. About their struggle George tear Thomas he fought on so many fronts want to bring our congressional correspondent Bruce. For more on this started out as an activist an idealist as Byron said Mary. Many years later after serving the Carter administration decided it was time to get involved in a different way election to congress. And Georgia became known as the conscience of congress he really was the moral compass in Washington on so many issues. Over many decades in congress he would lend. His voice his power to so many other causes really had a kinship. With so many other causes lending his clouds and his boys to fight for women's rights for LGB teach you. Equality for gun reform and immigration and still even you know in in his final months in week still keeping up. That fight I'm struck. Every time I look at these images that that we have been seeing just how rare it is the to have someone like John Lewis who is able to see. Is hard work is sacrifice. Come to fruition just seen his legacy or play out in such. Meaningful way you know he was just 25 years old when he crossed that bridge that image of him with his hand in his pockets. About wearing that backpack that had just an apple and orange a toothbrush and a book on government for things he thought he would need to get for one night in jail. And instead he changed the course. Of this the history of our country. And to be able to start out his activism. Fighting for something as simple as a library card as a seated at lunch table to go on and change the course of voting rights in our country and then become. Voice that would lend support to presidents to be one of the most powerful voices. In congress what a remarkable thing and Georgia I was fortunate enough to to have the chance to be there on the fiftieth anniversary when we saw. Congressman Lewis and President Obama march across average I'll never forget the words that Lewis sat on that day. He said we come to Selma to be renewed when come to be inspired we come to be reminded that we must do the work that justice and equality calls us to do. Get out there and push and pull until we redeem the soul of America words that are so true. Still today George. And there you see that remarkable scene there in some of the case in military. John lewis' car from across Edmund pettis bridge one final time. Byron parent says we wait for this procession. Reminded the mark mr. king was supposed to lead a march that David had to preach and that is Ebenezer raptors it was John the Baptist that was John Lewis who led. And of course it was a king who was the man terror. Two Lewis Lewis first rejection is a very young man but he got back was a bus ticket. Can come see the leader. That's right John Lewis was eighteen years old when he wrote to Doctor King said Doctor King I want to help. Tell us want to serve in becoming a leader of the sclc. As as a college student says university. Charges about three quarter of a mile walk from. The chapel to the bridge a back in 1965. The chapel became a tree guys they had nurses and doctors on hand and and medics because they knew there would be trouble. You know Georgia my last conversation with congressman Lewis. How the good fortune interview in the number of times he was after the George Floyd incident and and he saw. He saw a great some of similarity in what was happening in America. Now since 1965. She's he felt that is as those Pierre talked about and we heard in congressman Lewis is on wirdzek. Then Bloody Sunday was a pivotal moment in our nation's history that net. That they're been beatings before captured on on go on camera but something about that moment changed America. Com. Just as George floors moment changed America and in later in 1965. When president Johnson was preparing to sign the voting rights act. He said this about Bloody Sunday. At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom. So it wasn't Lexington and Concord sort was a century ago it and mathematics and Soto was last week in Selma Alabama. John Lewis was there he was a part of that part of the reason why I think people so admired and respected him in Washington where you know George is hard to find friends. John Lewis had street cred. Everybody knew that this was a man who didn't just talk the talk he walked the walk he was willing sit. Go to jail forty times after Bloody Sunday George she was on a hospital for three days with a fractured skull and concussion. This has got to bed she went back to work backs that bridge. And now we see. The honor guard carrying into the case. Hi. But we'll find. Case in secure. Now settled on a three block turning. Patients like gives a sense of the scene on those streets. As they wait for the case and to pass by. We'll hundreds are gathering here George finger and that ready to pay tribute to the civil rights I can't. Songs that we shall overcome they came. With signs to honor his life and his legacy and you know. So memorial services like his might for Jackson started in his hometown in Troy Alabama. And that he was nicknamed the boy from Troy an evening that warn that the king junior gave to him when they are snacks. And I just blocks away from Troy University. Where hundreds came to honor his life and his legacy at John Lewis was denied a library card. He was on the a library was for whites only. While decades later he be elected to congress and that seemed librarian mad at him back. For a book signing of his autobiography and that day he says hundreds of black and white citizens showed up and he ended up walking away that day. What a library card to someone that was able to see if the legacy. Of his life play out in front of him and such a powerful way George. It's such a powerful way Pierre Thomas so he had no idea. On March 7 1965. We would actually get across that bridge. Try George you know the word hero. There's thrown all round way too much. As a black man from the south let me go there for second and described what he faced. In that period. This was a time when George Wallace. Was the governor of that state. George Wallace was a face and a symbol of segregation. In fact the words your work from his mouth one day when he says segregation today. Segregation tomorrow. Segregation. Forever. Windy John Lewis was crossing that bridge he was facing a system. That sought to oppressed black people at every level to make them feel inferior. So when he went across a bridge and he's looking at that crowd. Police officers as he said a sea of blue. It was remarkable courage that he had to have. And Georgia every now and then he of this phrase. People talk about how he was beaten is almost a cliche. The man's skull was fractured. And sometimes in my youth I'm close my eyes and imagine what it would take to have the courage. To be beaten like that. Within an inch of your life and then go out and do it all over again George. Unbelievable courage and Byron Pitts and commitment as well a commitment. To endure the violence. Without committing violence in response. Exactly right Doctor King preached nonviolence. And John Lewis was in the choir singing the same song he believed deeply in that. Later years when the civil rights movement began to fracture part of attention was over those who fell because they're been so much violence against. African Americans people of color in this country of people were so angry John Lewis said no we're not gonna resort to that. He he believed that deeply with ever fiber of his being he talks about and in his wonderful memoir walking with a when he talks about. This portion of the journey to the Edmund pettis bridge. Doesn't mention is about records of a mile to walk and so they SARS and a black neighborhood near cheers and people are supportive and kind. And then they wandered through some white neighborhoods and people are Schering had them and yelling unkind words and they get their first glimpse of night sticks and Billy clubs. Then he gets the bridge access that is about four football fields long. It's high at its highest point when you're on the one SATA bridge you can see the other its it wasn't until they got to the top of the bridge. Dead as Pierre said they saw the sea of blue. Based on knowing state troopers telling sheriffs deputies but a posse of civilians. Dead sheriff Clark head recruited that day. With night sticks and baseball bats. John Lewis describes some men had rubber hoses with barbed wire wrapped around it. That's what they face they talked about stopping and turning around and going back as any reasonable person might. But because John Lewis believes so deeply in the cause believe that non violence. What's the answer to violence and peace and you know let's push on. And they did and that courage she showed that day that deep and abiding faith he showed that day. Did help to change America. Think changed America. Rivers he maintained that they threw his whole life. And displayed. One of the greatest virtues forgiveness. And it was just remarkable that this guy is a John Lewis's heart. To think that he eventually one day. Or when going to forgive governor Wallace who was the one who ordered those state troopers to take quote what ever wounds necessary. To prevent them from getting across that bridge but John Lewis said. Did instead truth would have to have. The final say. In history and so lean years later when Wallace would seek forgiveness. Lewis said he had no other option but to forgive him saying that to not forgive him. Would only perpetuate the evil system. We sought to destroy. It is just remarkable and you know I'm struck especially as you see this march beginning and is Byron talks about. What was happening in that that moment in 1965. Make as they were marching to the bridge of Lewis has leader said describing that moment that while the pictures made them look so alone walking two by two. Towards that bridge he said he felt they were with a band of Brothers and sisters the scene and the unseen who marched with us. Our spirits joined with others through the ages. Lewis said he would determined to stand for justice and they were also there that's what was going through his mind as it came over the peak of that bridge and saw. The tremendous. Show of force weeding. 22 attacks nominee in return. And it was this moment because so many saw it because it was broadcast because those images were simply impossible. To ignore the really see here. On the minds this nation and the horrific nature nature of segregation. And as you see now these crowds gathered. Did you watch lewis' final march to think that in 1965 and there were actually crowds they're cheering on the state troopers. As they attacked a Lewis and these other peaceful protesters what a remarkable journey what it changed we have seen because of the work of jobless. Today only friends families and supporters on the other side it is still called the Edmund pettis bridge. Rachel Scott there is movement out of changes and name in an unarmed John Lewis. Now there were new calls storage to try and get this bridge renamed. After John Lewis admitted had as well as a leader of the kkk. And that may say that the bridge does not represented now the symbol of civil rights the symbol of hope that came from that march. In 1965. So the calls are growing for this bridge to be renamed. To John actions after John Letzing name that they believe were flax. And the legacy and the life and that the future in the direction of the country is headed and. Investors actually some resistance to that in Selma itself some. There's some locals in Selma say that doesn't do you get do justice to all those who fought before John Lewis and perhaps the name should remain. As a reminder of what that passed. Was like it really echoes of that debate across the country right now. In sown many institutions. Oh yeah George you know I hate it this is debate I was thinking about that that very topic this morning. There are bridges named after Adolf Hitler in Germany right. John Lewis is a part of of our nation's fire who represents Korea are now was a nation and going forward. I was thinking about I was reading reading his book this morning. Walking with a win he describes. Those moments crossing that bridge were he says the first the troopers came over me a large husky man with a without a word he swung his club against the left side of my head. I raised an armor reflex motions like curled up in the prayer for protection position. I was bleeding badly my head was now exploding with paying. There was mayhem all around me I could see young kid a teenage boys sitting on the ground with a gaping cut on his head. The blood just gushing out. Several women relying on the pavement in the grass median people were weeping somewhere vomiting from the tear gas. Men on horses removing in all directions purposely running over top of fallen people. Bringing their animals close down on shoulders and stomachs and links. Please know I could hear one woman's scream god were being killed Christ another. With night sticks and whips the posse men had a rubber hoses rap with barbed wire. Sheriff Clark deputies chased us all the way back to the front of Brown's chapel. So George I I guess it is a debate in some circles about what the Edmund pettis bridge represented then what it represents now. But it seems to me there's a compelling argument in the town we live now. That you might want to consider the arguments rename this bridge after John Lewis on. How was as much a son proud son of Alabama. As well is senator Edmund pettis. And and a son one could make the argument who did as much for Alabama. As any other politician. Born in that state. And Pierre Thomas we will always remember whether it's renamed or not we will always associate. This bridge would that man. Indeed the courage. For the fortitude to resolve. To do what he did they enjoyed his legacy continues to move on here he played a major role in the African American. Museum here in Washington. Not a lot of people know that push for that to become a reality is one of them most seen and visited museums in Washington. This is a man who was at Barack Obama's. Inauguration spoke. We know how much Barack Obama leaned on John Lewis in terms of being an inspiration so. His legacy is one of the American dream. In the process of being full field. And Mary Bruce who talked about his courage you've talked about his fortitude his capacity to for forgiveness but we should not mistake that for me this in any way. She performed as a member of congress he didn't mince is words. No he's certainly did not George you know I think. Most people really remember him in congress for that those bellowing speeches that Saunders voice you would offing here when he would go to speak. On the house floor and speak out. Forcefully. As we were discussing earlier you know he'll lead to that voice to so many other causes whether being women's right LGB TQ a quality. In recent years immigration. And that he was arrested aims when he thirteen innings late seventies along with largely millennial crowd. Pushing for immigration reform speaking out. Against the policies of the trump administration and I will never forget. In 2016. When he landed his colleagues in an overnight 24 hour sitting in on the house floor for gun. Reforms right after other horrific shooting in Orlando's he was constantly pushing. His colleagues in congress to stir things up. To not accept things that just continuing on the way they had to be and also for the younger generation. Showing them what it meant to cause good troubled that is something that I think he took. Great pleasure and pride and in teaching the next generation not just about the history and what he experienced but how to carry on. The cause how to carry on his legacy. And he enjoyed what today is his final march. Across this bridge he was just there in March he was there are almost every year he would have these pilgrimages where he would travel to do this bridge with. Other members of congress. So that date could also understand what he experienced they're the history but also to remind them that the fight was so so far from over. And you push them didn't do more these pilgrimages back to the Edmund pettis bridge or something that he felt so strongly about. Because he gave him a chance I think to take stock of how far this country has come and how much this country so I. To do Torre talk about his unmistakable voice Mary he was one of those few members of congress and remember from the days when I worked there. As well one of those members of congress would hold back until the end of the debate but one of the few who when he took the floor. The rule would fall silent. Everybody. Would. He was a quiet humble may happen. He would often move. Currently do the policy is not. Someone and that in his private life that necessarily near that public figure. But man when he spoke out who everybody listened out and he did so at a carefully. And with such purpose especially. In these final years of his life when he would speak out against the top administration you know heat that was very forceful in calling out what he felt I was wrong in in the handling of this administration he was blunt one of the first voices says to say to you Jordan actually ended that he thought the president was racist. And he was one of the first voices to come out and say that he was not going. To attend president times inauguration that he felt that he was not a legitimate president. And in doing so John Lewis did took those mormons he chose those on a very carefully. But he did so knowing that when he spoke up he was leading and he was giving. Cover to other members of congress to follow suit and a in that example not attending the inauguration some seventy members of congress Democrats. Ultimately did not attend. And they did so because they were following the example of John Lewis because he sent the message that this was a time when he wanted to speak out and speak up and leave a mark and he certainly did on so many issues George. Through Rachel Scott he started speaking up as a very young boy the boy from Troy you were in Troy Alabama his hometown yesterday. As a very young boy he would practice by preaching to the chickens in his backyard. He then he went of priests have been chickens and actually dock not in his. Autobiography. How he would run away from fuel work to go to school that his parents. We're stuck between a rock and a hard place having to choose between economic prosperity. And having your children stay home and work in the field vs actually. Going to school and how he would run away because he had an eagerness to learn an eagerness to read. And that eagerness I had never last ten you know when he was elected to congress. He gave his brother comes up. And his brother asked him what was not about. And he said we came a long way from the cotton fields. An Alabama and they certainly. Did John Lewis before he walked those marble halls of congress led right here for the right to vote. Powerful legacy and one final trip today across the Edmund pettis bridge George. Firing pitch what a journey over the course of eighty years the son of sharecroppers. I'll George it's it's a remarkable journey in. It speaks to what's possible in America this son of a sharecropper no. John Lewis talks about his first job he was five years old. How was getting the chickens every morning at 4 o'clock tomorrow in his house most of us as parents who wouldn't trust are partnering addressed alone that this man had a job at five. They talk about his toughness my first interview my first conversation John Lewis I was a young reported WSB the ABC affiliate in Atlanta. And I don't historic he wasn't pleased with them through mutual friend who call into his house a Washington John rose's house on a Sunday. He was in suspenders and a bell. Hey look at me he said boys don't let this Thai insurance fool you. Committee gave me a big hug and he said son if every have a question just asked me. He was absolutely positively a tough man in the it's that you have to be tough to withstand to have the courage not to fight when the instinct might be to fight. Yet people who know jobless we'll tell you use a gentle kind man he loved to dance she loved to laugh you love this socialized he loved fancy gatherings. But he was a kid from Troy Alabama who knew his way around a fist fight. And and waited and would defend the ground he stood on he did that his entire life. Terry Moran I'm glad you're joining us now as well pick up more Byron I left off the journey. Of a man in a country over eighty years. You know George that is what I'm struck by the timing of the passing of John Lewis at this point. In our history. A great man and great America a great American someone who want the country forward to the force it is police. In the way he lived them out with courage and grace. Passion at this moment. When you president of the United States has made quite clear. Let he. They will stake his reelection. Aren't standing. It informed of the progress that John Lewis tied to make and walked four and poor will put at December of this election. The issue of race in America racial injustice. Atonement. Four the racial crimes that have marked armed marred our history. It is it is a very special moment in American history and passion journalists Shumway. Those throws it all in the very sharp relief and accomplishment of his generation. In the way he continued to fight and now the new generation. Picking up the torch in the streets of our cities. To confront a president who is quite explicitly embraced. Those who who still fly the confederate flak. Let me this is a dramatic moment in addition. 21 that is quite naturally. For the passing of an American hero. But I think John Lewis who who would appreciate the discussion and the reflection. That that I think his country and generate in the country. It is a heated conversation across America today we're also joined really reverend Gerhard professor who studies the relationship. The Republican Party with a African Americans blacks as well actually answer one of the things that he. Isn't it should be noted now is that. At the time the John Lewis was marching. In some ways civil rights was a less partisan issue you had Democrats opposed it to the fight and yet Republicans supporting it. Movie and I think one of the things that senior fundamentally. Figuring order misunderstood about the moment. In nineteen aged 65 but that voting rights become a bipartisan app support for voting right for the bipartisan act. I'm antennae them against voting rights but also bipartisan act don't you are looking at a Republican than Democrat. If not necessarily be on party affiliation but more so were you are in the read great belief feat that southern Democrat. Are adamantly opposed to voting rights act and in fact this is more John Lewis the talking points and how he understands politics. Which at that you know we have to cash out those. That would deny its right. Within the Democratic Party did actually become a rallying point for transforming the Democratic Party without during the period southern segregationist. He they're seeking to losing congress. Or begin the outfit or retire or stay the phone felt that essentially they out themselves. Particularly in their harsh and often violent reaction to basic constitutional right click and enticement in the right to bulk. We really do not only the the kind of bipartisan support bill would be a transformation. Of the American two party political system during the period. And download it instrumental. Instrumental. In really charting the way there and I think one of the thing the plane up to it that. Here he moved. And it kind of protest action into policy. He chooses to go through the roof of the Democratic Party because because my pack. Action in my path pushing at proven that the Democratic Party control. It can become a different organ it can become a different political our institution. And that's looking behind. The most the viability and that's why he become part of the Democratic Party without for the rest of the black. He's able to become a member of congress in part because of the voting. Rights act. And professor of where this is death now comes at a moment. When voting rights in America facing different but still significant threats. Flick you that's the great that is one of the latest incident the great tragedy but a John Lewis and John Lewis did all of that work. Eventually it began democracy everywhere in the country. Keynote at the great need here is stacked after he does all of the poor great as a marginalized into the system with the technical fair but the market is blotted. That even hints that even I know include new cup captain. Peanuts and battled for voting rights act and clothing bank and not think Paul. Don't play on multiple ports. This disenfranchising. That voter suppression that voter depression. An attempt to prevent young people people of color black people African American indigenous Americans are voting it's still. Part and parcel of the American political cost that. And it's really think horrific though part of you don't get the last kind of tort of course. Jon Leuer. And the carping at the Edmund pettis bridge but also going to be very important fight on his coat check in policy career. It highlighting the fact. But in order for us to be true democracy. But every walk that there needs to be concrete act. Action particularly around the right to vote and go it not just a home going you know a religious home going for John Lewis but that is certainly that. It's also reminder of what their faith in our current democracy. And now we seeing. The case and approaching Edmund pettis bridge. Let's watch. Okay. The top of the bridge. John Lewis. That I was family members who siblings and son. To walk those final steps to cross the bridge. Shawn Lewis completing the final crossing of the Edmund pettis bridge. Accompanied by family. Where they were joined now the motorcade to Montgomery Alabama. Recreating of course the march to Montgomery policy in march of 1965. From Selma. Signal moment in the struggle for civil rights in this country and racial Scott. We could hear. As the case and cross the bridge voices in the crash chatting. We've got it from here. We got it from here and storage that is what many were saying here and you think about. 55 years ago the screens that echoed across sound mind. As those protesters. Were violently attacked by state troopers but today there were cheers. Hey we're thank you. For a man who paved the way and man who put his life we'll shed blood for their rights about it when I looked out. Hearings on hundreds if you will that were gathered I stop people from all different backgrounds. People from all different parts of this nation that came to honor an American hero as he made his final journey across this bridge and you know. Back in March John Lewis who is here and he gave some parting advice to the next generation. To get in good troubled team did in the way. And this so many people that came out here today say they want to continue on his legacy. They wanted to come here to say goodbye and let him now that we got it from here George. Pierre Thomas. One of the last of his generation. George is the greatest generation our civil rights leaders. We're losing them one by one we lost reverend Joseph Lowery. In March just in past days we lost revenue CT Vivian. Who also was a major player in a movement. John Lewis believed that this new generation could take on the torch. Then gets a job done continue to push forward. We shall see George. And Byron Pitts. He comes at a time who can win. America's they've said is so divided. And is trying to figure out where the fights are for this new generation. And I think juries we can look took the life. And activist. In the John Lewis in 1965. John Lewis was considered by many in power in this country. As an agitator as a troublemaker. As an extremists. In 1965. John Lewis. Walked over their bridge into the arms of Haiti. Today. She rides into the warm embrace of history. Georgia didn't his journey Georgia. John what was didn't make it to Montgomery. Weeks later Doctor King when they arrived in Montgomery Doctor King said these were is appropriate then they seem appropriate now. I know somebody you're asking today how long it would take. I come to you to say this afternoon however difficult moments however frustrating the hour it will not be long because truth question here is arise again. How long not long because no lie can live forever. How long now wrong because you reap what you sow. How long not long because the arm of the moral universe is long but it points towards justice. How long can not long. Because my eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord. Trampling down the vintage where the grace her raft her story she is losing the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword his truth is marching on. Glory hallelujah. Glory hallelujah John Lewis said he smiled that day. For those of us were raised in church people of faith we can imagine that John Lewis is smiling now. His journey is over. For George the work continues. The rest of us. Amen to that Brian picks. And as the case makes its way we will save that they will make its way to Montgomery. Where jobless full line stay later today the Alabama State Capitol. Tomorrow it's to Washington. Where he'll line state against the US capitol. And on Wednesday. At the Georgia State Capitol. Before his funeral and burial head Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Thursday. We'll have live coverage of all those events especially starting live. We honoring John Lewis tomorrow in Washington a much more tonight. On world news and of course I'll see you tomorrow morning and Good Morning America have a good afternoon.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.