Dr. Bernice King's Eulogy For John Lewis Doubled As A Call To Keep Getting In 'Good Trouble' Until Change Finally Comes
Three former presidents spoke at the funeral, including President Barack Obama.
July 30, 2020 at 8:37 pm
The nation bid a final farewell to congressman John Lewis on Thursday following a series of events honoring the life of the civil rights icon.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest child, Rev. Dr. Bernice King, was among several highly esteemed guests who eulogized the late Lewis. While praising the 80-year-old, who'd been among her father's mentees during the Civil Rights Movement, she called on listeners to carry on his legacy of activism.
Rev. Dr. King invoked the spirit of “The boy from Troy” to watch over activists and protesters as they also "get in good trouble.”
Lewis, a lifelong activist, had been arrested at least 40 times throughout the civil rights era, according to The New York Times.
“Let a portion of what John Lewis’ life was about fall on us, in this hour, so that we can continue to get into good trouble,” the 57-year-old said. “Anoint us with a double portion, in this generation, to get into good trouble until there is radical reform in policing in our nation."
She then elaborated as to where exactly good trouble needs to take place.
"Anoint us a double portion to get into good trouble until voter suppression is no longer a part of our body politic," she said. "Anoint us with a double portion to get into good trouble until there is an equitable distribution of wealth in this nation. Until everyone has a livable wage, affordable housing and good health care. ... Grant us finally, Father God, that a double portion to get into good trouble until love becomes the way we live, the way we lead, the way we legislate."
Rev. Dr. King then made a pledge to sustain Lewis' legacy.
"And until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream, thank you God for this great man, who lived among us and joins the great cloud of freedom fighters," she went on. "And Lord, we thank you for his life and his legacy. And we will continue to get into good trouble, as long as you grant us the breathe to do so."
Later in the service, former President Barack Obama was invited to speak and gave a rousing eulogy. He joined his predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in delivering words for the late Lewis. As the service's presiding pastor, Raphael Warnock noted "Only John Lewis could compel three living American presidents to come to this house of God to celebrate his life."
And that's exactly what they did.
“I come here today because I, like so many other Americans, owe a great debt to John Lewis and his forceful vision of freedom," the 44th president said.
“America was built by John Lewises. He as much as anyone in our history has brought this country a little bit closer to our highest ideals. And someday when we do finish that long journey toward freedom," Obama said. "When we do form a more perfect union, whether its years from now, or decades, or even a few centuries, John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America.”
Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of politicians and the public paid their final respects to Lewis in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, where the 80-year-old became the first Black lawmaker to lie in state.
On Sunday, Lewis’ body crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in a ceremony honoring his legacy. The previous day, there was a celebration of life ceremony held in his hometown of Troy, Alabama, reports NBC News.
After the funeral, Lewis’ body was buried at South-View Cemetery next to his wife.