First of all, I stan John Lewis and Muhammad Ali probably more than any men who ever lived.
Seriously, I could talk all day about those two, and I actually have.
We can’t forget how long he’s been fighting this fight.
“Y’all go on ahead. Imma keep on.”
He was LITERALLY the first “Ride or Die” homey.
Because it had been whitewashed, nowadays we look at the movement for nonviolent resisting in the wrong way.
People who call it “nonviolent” forget one thing:
EVERYONE was there to commemorate the historic event. He introduced me to this lady named Amelia Boynton
Boynton is one of those women few people outside of Ala. know about.
She somehow passed Alababa’s trick-filled “literacy test” that ONLY black people were required to take to get their right to vote.
There’s a good reason that this story isn’t part of the Civil Rights movement narrative.
Amelia Boynton was doing this in NINETEEN THIRTY SIX!
John Lewis makes that March EVERY YEAR.
The 2nd time I met John Lewis was EXACTLY two years later in Montgomery Ala
Well this year, his foundation asked me to write a poem for the dinner honoring him.
I worked a long time on that poem.
So I had to start all over. I literally finished it 10 minutes before the dinner.
I was kinda shook that he remembered.
The FOURTH time I met John Lewis was in Atlanta. I was covering the irregularities in the 2018 midterms.
We even do it.
But John Lewis makes sure no one ever forgets.
But wait... there’s more.
In fact, when the Civil Rights Act was first written he criticized it at the March on Washington.
But it’s because Amelia Boynton had been trying to register voters and finally said: I know who can help:
They met at HER HOUSE to plan Bloody Sunday
Amelia Boynton was AT the White House when the Civil Rights Act was signed
She was invited to Obama’s 2015 State of the Union.
Seems like a long life, right?
But here is something more interesting than that.
For years, historians thought that the last survivor of the Transatlantic slave trade was a man who came on this trip named “Cudjo”
So did I.
John Lewis didn’t.
This was weird to me but I didn’t think anything of it.
It’s understandable how this was unknown, because Cudjo was well known. Zora Neale Hurston wrote a book about him—Barracoon
Boynton brought an African who spoke Bantu to meet she told Boynton about Her journey. Boynton even wrote about it in her book.
Years later, we would discover that “Aunt Sally” was Redoshi the last survivor of the Transatlantic slave trade.
Of course I didn’t expect any recognition or kudos but this man was a living legend! He was surrounded by people who wanted to take photos, etc
And just as I walked away, he said:
“But did you send the poem, though?”
But here’s the most interesting question of all:
What do you think happened to to the legacy and values of the white people they were fighting?