On the one-year anniversary of John Lewis’ burial, activists, politicians and organizers gathered at the John Lewis Memorial Mural to celebrate Lewis’ lifetime of public service.
The event’s honored guests were Samuel and Henry Lewis, two of John Lewis’ younger brothers.
It was both of the Lewis brothers’ second time visiting the mural, they both described John Lewis as someone who was always fascinated with the arts.
In 2013 John Lewis published “March” the first in a trilogy of autobiographical graphic novels. He was the first member of congress to write a graphic novel.
Henry Lewis spoke about visiting Fisk University, where his brother John graduated in 1967, a few weeks ago and seeing the art classroom. He said that having that exposure to the arts at a young age definitely had an impact on John.
“Anywhere that he spent any amount of time— whether it was in, his office in Washington, his office in Atlanta or his home in Atlanta or his home in Washington— artwork was on display,” Henry Lewis said.
He added that when John traveled to Africa he would bring back art, especially art that made a statement.
The speakers at the event spoke of John Lewis the civil rights icon and champion of the disenfranchised.
“John Lewis was always about getting the job done,” said former Atlanta Mayor and Ambassador Andrew Young.
Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said that Lewis knew his march had never ended.
Henry and Samuel Lewis spoke about a side of their older brother beyond the legend that surrounded him as an icon of the civil rights era.
“John was a serious-minded man, but when he came home he had time to spend with his brothers and sisters and his nephews that was all around,” Samuel Lewis said.
Despite their 12 year age difference, Henry Lewis said he and John had a tight bond and would be in contact four or five times a week.
“Even when he was real busy, we would find a way to make contact. That was really important to me— being his younger brother, that he would take the time to give me that time,” Henry Lewis said.
Samuel Lewis called his brother John a humble man. He said he hopes that people know that the fight is not over because there is still a lot more to be done.
The John Lewis Memorial Mural is at the corner of Auburn Ave and Jesse Hill Jr. Drive a few blocks from where Representative Lewis’ Atlanta congressional office was.