View From Here
By David Mark Greaves
Rev. C. T. Vivian and Congressman John Lewis, the firebrands of the 1960’s Civil Rights Era,
were the hammer and the anvil of a fired-up people intent on bending the arc of the nation toward justice and equality.
They were “Race Men” who stayed faithful to their mission of paving the road forward for their people, making it smoother for everyone.
Leading the way out of Jim Crow was hard and dangerous work and these are two of the many who did what the times called for.
They took the handoff of freedom’s torch and now it is in our hands to be passed to the generations next in line. To remember John Lewis and Cordy Tindell Vivian and so many others, is to stand for self, family and community. It is to Believe in The Struggle. To know that you can live a life that makes a difference in the world. It is to resist tyranny and inhumanity, as they did with their Brother-Leader Martin. Like him, they practiced what they preached.
They fought together on the front lines of the struggle. Where Medgar Evers was shot in the back and where Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner were murdered. Out in front where Fannie Lou Hamer was beaten. In front where angry men were anticipating going to work with their dogs, batons and firehoses.
You can see the fearlessness in the eyes of Vivian and Lewis in a 1963 police photo, before they were sent to a Mississippi prison – for daring to enter a “whites only” bathroom. With Lewis, the wry beginnings of a smile seemed to say, “You only think you have me.”
Lewis and Vivian’s audacious courage and spirit in getting into “good trouble” during that Civil Rights era prompted President Barack Obama to award each the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
And now fate has brought them together, again, one last earthly time. They died within hours of each other, last Friday. Now, they lay in two closed caskets, side by side, in the same room at the Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home in Atlanta Ga.
“In 1965 in Selma, they were each brutally beaten just a month apart while trying to register Black voters and bring attention to the generational plight of disenfranchised Blacks,” reported The Atlanta-Constitution Journal, yesterday.
“They walked together, talked together and strategized together,” funeral director Watkins told AJC. “They took the beatings that others didn’t and survived unafraid. God took them at the ages of 95 and 80. And now here they are in the same room — together.”
But their lives will not end with their mortality.
They will soon have the actions they took and what they stood for, celebrated from the pulpit and put in song by the choir. There will be happiness and joy in those houses of worship that we were here in this time when men like these walked among us. And they walked so that we might have the right to vote.
We have the chance to honor them at the polls in November.
2020 Presidential Elections
Who will be Biden’s VP? Right now, we’re sure it’s a woman, but who? If Susan Rice is not the VP pick, then she’s a lock for Secretary of State.
But then who would be the best select for these times? My thinking: Elizabeth Warren. It must be someone who has a proven history of focusing directly on consumer complaints, concerns and issues, and health – the kinds of things that have impact at the kitchen table.
Warren already has cadres of experts with a plan for everything. All of which would have to be given a Covid 19 update. She’s also one of the few White women he can choose, that Black women will respect.
And with the appointments of Madam Secretary Rice and Attorney General Kamala Harris, I think everyone will respect the judgement. Then, there’s the dynamic Congressmember Val Demings! Another great VP choice.
Biden’s got nothing but talent to choose from. He can’t go wrong with any combination he comes up with.
Pray for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginzburg, now facing a recurrence of her cancer. We know that Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump and the white supremacists they answer to, are circling our lioness. If the justice leaves the court in Trump’s term, then American Democracy as we’ve known it leaves with her.
John Lewis and C.T. Vivian have given us our marching orders. It’s all good, and it’s all good trouble.