Following a week of memorial services and events honoring the life of Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights leader and icon was laid to rest on July 30 after a celebration of life at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church.
“He became a living walking sermon about truth-telling and justice-making…he loved America until America learned to love him back,” said Ebenezer Baptist Church Senior Pastor Rev. Raphael Warnock, who led the 4-hour long event on the pulpit where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr delivered his first sermon.
Following eulogies from former Presidents George W. Bush and William ‘Bill’ Clinton, President Barack Obama delivered a 40-minute long eulogy in which he credited John Lewis for inspiring him from an early age — referencing the words he wrote to the congressman following his election as president, “Because of you, John.”
“What a gift John Lewis was, we are all so lucky to have had him walk with us for a while and show us the way,” said Obama.
Former Atlanta Mayor and close friend of Lewis William Craig Campbell recalled one of his final conversations with the congressman. “In a solemn moment he pulled me closer and he whispered: ‘Everyone has to vote in November, it’s the most important election ever,’” said Campbell “If you truly want to honor this humble hero, make sure that you vote.”
Speaker of the House Nanci Pelosi recalled the moment that a rainbow appeared above Lewis’s body as he lay in state at the U.S Capitol a few days prior.
“There was this double rainbow over the casket,” she said. “We always knew he worked on the side of angels, and now he is with them.”
The celebration featured performances by musical icons Jennifer Holliday and Kathleen Bertrand. Lewis’s nieces, Hydra Lewis-Brewster, Rosalyn King and Sheila Lewis O’Brien also spoke during the service, as well as Lewis’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jamila Thompson, Founder of Trumpet awards foundation inc. Xernona Clayton, CEO of the King center rev. Bernice King and Rev. James Lawson Jr.
Following the funeral, Lewis’s casket was transported to South View Cemetary for burial.