People in the Triad who worked with Congressman John Lewis remember how he strategically reached across the aisle.
But there were times it came with criticism.
Dr. David Campt, founder of the White Ally Toolkit and The Dialogue Company, worked with Lewis when he was co-chair of the Faith and Politics Institute.
“We think of him as courageous with respect to the big marches in the 60s, but he had to show courage even much later,” Campt said.
Campt was brought in to guide politicians on racial reconciliation and healing.
They learned to have effective conversations with each other and in their communities – something Lewis was passionate about.
“He would send the team out wherever Congresspeople wanted to do that and that would include two districts run by Republicans,” Campt said.
“The Congressional Black Caucus looked at our presence as helping this person on the other side and Mr. Lewis had the feeling that, no, race reconciliation is bigger than politics.”
Republican Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) took a civil rights pilgrimage with Lewis.
The two visited historic sites in the south.
“What was just as powerful was riding on the bus and listening to his stories about the Freedom Riders and just the education that it was personally for me to go back to the mid-1960s, not even being born at that time, but to hear something from him,” Walker said.
“Not reading it in a history book or something along those lines but listening to it from the John Lewis was very special and something I’ll always cherish.”
On July 22, Walker led a portion of a special order on the House floor honoring his colleague.
“Yes, we disagreed sometimes on the best approach, but I am honored to have had the chance to meet him and to serve with him in the United States Congress,” Walker said.