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Atlanta Mourns Nelson Mandela

By The Atlanta Voice Staff | 12/13/2013, 12:21 p.m.
Atlanta and Georgia joins the world in mourning the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela Thursday at the ...
Nelson Mandela, deputy President of the African National Congress, pauses after laying a wreath at the tomb of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta Wednesday, June 27, 1990. Holding hands in remembrance are King's widow Coretta Scott King and Rev. Joseph Lowery, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson stands in the background. Photo by Charles Kelly/AP.

Bernice King, CEO, King Center:

I join with people of all races worldwide in mourning the death of this great lion of African liberation, but celebrating his magnificent life of service to the cause of freedom, human rights and justice for all humanity. Nelson Mandela’s life and leadership exemplified the highest courage, dignity and dedication to human liberation. His name will always resonate in my heart, as it does in the hearts of millions of people all over the world. His death marks the end of an era, when leaders of unsurpassed courage and integrity walked among us.

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Nelson Mandela receives Nobel Peace Prize. AP photo.

Martin Luther King III:

The passing of President Nelson Mandela, international human rights hero, statesman and citizen of the world, marks the end of a magnificent life, but his remarkable contributions and vision for a more humane and just world will endure.

Mr. Mandela was a genuine hero in the struggle against apartheid, a cause which Martin Luther King Jr. also championed.

After spending 27 years in captivity and at a time when his country could have imploded into a racial bloodbath, he taught the world how to forgive.

While he will be missed, his legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of millions of people throughout the world. He was a symbol of dignity for people of African descent and for the poor and oppressed everywhere.

Through his and his people’s long walk to freedom, Mr. Mandela’s constant fight for equality personified, what my father often said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”

Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young:

Nelson Mandela was the ultimate expression of the spirit of a great people- The success of the anti-apartheid struggle is a testament to Mandela's leadership, vision and courage.

Our Movements in America and South Africa were inspired and empowered, each by the other. We were inspired by Albert Lithuli and they were inspired by Martin Luther King. We were all humbled and instructed by Gandhi's commitment to non-violence.

Today, we celebrate the life of this great man who has gone to his reward. We must take this opportunity to recommit ourselves to the standards he set-- for non-violence, for reconciliation and his unwavering commitment to justice for each and every person on this earth.”

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Nelson Mandela handshake with John Lewis. Photo courtesy of Rep. Lewis.

Rep. John Lewis:

The whole of humanity has lost one of the most beloved, admired, and inspiring leaders of the last century. Through his action in defense of human dignity, his unjust, brutal imprisonment, and his attempts to heal a nation he demonstrated to all of us that we must never become bitter or hostile. He showed us that we each, despite our tribulation, have the power to forgive, that we can be reconciled with the worst offender. When he walked out of prison with grace, dignity and pride, he taught us how to thrive as members of the human family.

President Nelson Mandela must be looked upon as modern-day saint. He was a giant of a man. Even those who opposed him could not help but admire and deeply respect him. His redemptive, unearned suffering, his dedication to the philosophy and discipline of non-violence, and his magnificent grace are a testimony to the power and endurance of the human spirit. He was one of those rare individuals, like Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr., who come along only once in a generation who are a blessing to all humanity. They teach us not just how to liberate the body, but how to free our minds and unleash the power of the human spirit.