Oscar snubs and LBJ controversy aside, the movie “Selma” brims with examples of undeniable greatness. We Atlantans have special interest and pride, perhaps, with our singular connection to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Era.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis is portrayed in the film as the brave and smart young man he was. He led that infamous Bloody Sunday march depicted in the film and almost paid with his life. Lewis has long been a hero for me and countless others here in Atlanta, known in the ’60s as The City Too Busy to Hate.
My friend Will Alford shared the following account on Facebook this week.
Saw Selma last night…. In my trips from Atlanta to DC, I often see John Lewis and other congressmen in the airport and/or on flights. (I always take note of which ones accept the inevitable/eventual upgrade to first class that frequent fliers get). The best encounter was one time en route back to Atlanta — just a random week. After most of the plane had boarded, Rep. Lewis was making his way down the aisle to his seat in the back, and every single row stood as he passed in respect for him. Nobody else gets that kind of reaction. He was humble, sweet, patient… and spoke to every single person who reached out to him (like all politicians do). He seemed like some kind of holy man that day where everyone just wanted a touch. History in the flesh. I couldn’t stop myself from obnoxiously turning to my seatmate and bragging, “He’s my congressman.”
I’ve had the pleasure a few times myself, and it is a powerfully humbling experience just to meet Lewis. Thanks, Will, for letting me share your story.
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