The short, stocky man dominated the crowd and spoke at the dedication of the statues of the Clinton 12, a group that integrated Clinton (TN) High School.
John Lewis was an amazing man. He was short, maybe 5'4" or 5'5", but he was easily the biggest man there.
At the end of his talk, he joined arms with the short, stocky white guy who was our Congressional representative.
Lewis was an unabashed liberal, black man from Atlanta and he joined arms with Zach Wamp, the white, conservative Congressional representative who represented Tennessee's Third District, which included Clinton, a town about the size of Jefferson.
The two of them led the crowd of about 400 or 500 in singing "We Shall Overcome."
I, like most of the crowd, was teary-eyed.
The Clinton city manager, Steve Jones, was a conservative Republican. Wamp got Lewis to come to the dedication. Jones met Lewis in Washington and told him to story of the Clinton school integration.
Lewis spent all afternoon in Clinton. I was impressed with his knowledge and humility. He was quite a man.
He died recently after a 30-year career in the U.S. House.
Lewis was not a familiar person here in conservative Republican territory. We are much the worse for that lack.