Georgia Congressman and legendary Civil Rights Leader John Lewis penned one final op-ed prior to his passing on July 17. The New York Times published the letter on the day of his funeral by Lewis’ request. The late icon urges social advocacy, voting and calls on the youth to study their history.

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While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me,” Lewis begins the article. “You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.”

Lewis goes on to equivocate the brutal murder of Emmett Till to the police killing of George Floyd. Till’s murder opened the 15-year-old Lewis’ eyes to what it meant to be Black in America. “I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me.”


Lewis’ funeral takes place Thursday at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.