When C.T. Vivian and John Lewis exchanged their crosses for crowns a few days ago, an astronomer beheld the night and said, “Two important lights were just extinguished.”
An electrician saw the darkness and said, “Two important wires had just been cut.”
A general reviewed his soldiers and said, “two gallant soldiers have just fallen in battle.”
Some people die and never really live. A few people live and never really die. C.T. Vivian and John Lewis will never really die.
Through their lives, and the lives of those that they touched, they will never really die. In their homes, among their circle of friends, and as leaders of the civil rights movement, they will never really die.
Johnathan said of his friend David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon and thou shalt be missed, for thy seat shall be empty.”
Yes. Tomorrow is a new moon, and C.T. Vivian and John Lewis will be missed. Their seats will be empty.
I met C.T. Vivian when he was in Valdosta for the SCLC Georgia Convention, and at Providence Baptist Church in Atlanta when he was the associate pastor of the church where Gerald Durley was the pastor. I heard C.T. Vivian speak.
I saw John Lewis only at a distance when he was standing on the edge of the Pettis Bridge in Selma on the 50th anniversary of the famous march from Selma to Montgomery.
It was an honor to see both of these men and to know that they had been such intricate parts of the civil rights struggle. They were both icons and we adored them.
The civil rights movement that they led, along with Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks and others, belong to Black Lives Matter, the NAACP and the rest of us to carry on now.
It was my privilege to take a bus of the People’s Tribunal and their friends to the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March, where we met Bill Clinton, his wife, Hillary, and the first black President of the United States, Barack Obama.
C.T. Vivian and John Lewis saw wrong and tried to right it. They saw hate and tried to love it. They saw suffering and tried to heal it. They saw war and tried to stop it.
They were jailed in Nashville, Tenn., and beaten in Selma, Ala. They knew torture, but their heads, though bloody, remained unbowed.
I was proud to know C.T. Vivian, and to have seen John Lewis and to have read about him. They were men of great valor, and we will miss them both.
Floyd Rose is senior servant of Serenity Church.