‘an impossible dream’

The Selma Civil Rights March (March 21, 1965) – From left: U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA), an unidentified nun, Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Bunche, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Rabbi Heschel and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth

President Obama presents Rep. John Lewis with the 2010 Medal of Freedom

AP: Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. Lewis was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and helped organize the first sit-ins at lunch counters that refused to serve blacks. In 1965, he led a march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., and was nearly beaten to death along with others in what became known as “Bloody Sunday”.

President Obama said Lewis “knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time.” Lewis speaks often and loudly in his booming voice on issues of justice and equality, and is known as the “conscience” of Congress.

He told reporters later that the award was all the more special coming from Obama, the nation’s first black president.

“If someone had told me that one day I would be standing in the White House and an African-American president would be presenting me the Medal of Freedom I would say, ‘Are you crazy? Are you out of your mind?'” Lewis said. “It’s just an impossible dream.”

November, 2008:

12 Responses to “‘an impossible dream’”

  1. 1 maritza
    February 15, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Chipsticks, you have made me cry and I am not that breakable as a latina woman!

  2. February 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I don’t know who’s quote this is but is so meaningful:

    “Rosa sat so Martin could walk, Martin walked so Obama could run, Obama ran so our children can fly!”

    It just gives you chills.

  3. 4 Debra
    February 15, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    That was so moving. This is a clip of John Lewis talking about why he was marching in 1965. He was just 25 years old.

  4. February 15, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Donna, That was such a nice quote, and certainly fit the occasion.. I hurt when someone said that the teabaggers had actually treated Rep Lewis with disrespect in the infamous gathering at the white house…

  5. 6 Shirley Bess
    February 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Yeah, I too am near tears, tears of joy & pride, & how far we’ve come, & how we had to come, & how we’re getting blessings from above. Yes, I have tears, but tears of joy. I am a sixty-seven year old Senior Citizen, who was born In South Carolina, and raised on the Farm, a Share Cropper. Yes, I remember those blatently blunt days of hatred. I went to segregated Schools, drank from the colored fountains etc. so when I look at the snapshot of our President awarding the medals, tears, but smiles too, my face beams with joy through It all.

    • 7 majii
      February 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm

      It is a dream deferred that finally bore good fruit, Shirley. I remember those days of separate schools, movie theaters, public restrooms, hotels, parks, swimming pools, restaurants, etc., and we were always on the outside looking in. Yes, this is a time for tears and for joy, but most of all, it’s a time to work for a better future for all of our kids and to teach them to avoid reliving the past the way so many conservatives seem to want to do today. I believe our young people are ready to face the future—without the fears of yesterday.

  6. 8 majii
    February 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    “If someone had told me that one day I would be standing in the White House and an African-American president would be presenting me the Medal of Freedom I would say, ‘Are you crazy? Are you out of your mind?’” Lewis said. “It’s just an impossible dream.”

    God is good, Congressman Lewis, and He makes the impossible, possible. I have a background similar in some ways to the one Congressman Lewis has since we both lived under segregation and were born to parents who didn’t have a lot of material things to give to their kids, but could instill in them that if they worked hard, they could achieve the American Dream. Like Congressman Lewis, a few short years ago, I, too, would have thought it would have been impossible that a black POTUS with a funny sounding name to boot would be conveying this honor to this wonderful group of individuals in 2011.

  7. 9 A.L.Zymers
    February 15, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    What a wonderful presentation, Chipsticks. You have a way with the melding of words and pictures.

    Shirley Bess, I share your age but not the particular nature of the close-up bigotry you experienced. My mother’s people talked much about the South and mostly about how–under segregation, teachers in all-Black schools taught Negro history and there was a cohesiveness of Black community life. I thought up-south racism was pretty bad and still is, but it was, is in many ways subtler. And our communities, at least the poor ones I’ve lived in, were not bustling with Black pride, but rather dangerous internalized anti-Black racism. Even so, there is a safe familiarity, a comfort in a reality we all share about the nature of big city racism. But, I’m feeling my age today.

    Majii, your hope and determination and dream-fulfillment are instructive to someone like me. The way I view the glass–as half-empty or half-full changes from day-to-day.

    But this day, and this ceremony, and these days and this governance–well, it is, they are almost surreal in their gloriousness, because whatever happens–this wonderful time is being written indelibly one real, yet symbolic, deed at a time, and no one will ever be able to take that away. Not like so much of remarkable African-American and African history. We’ve got every possible way of recording this now–not the least of which is via Chipsticks and BWD, and good old Pete Souza.

    Thank you for sharing this honor with us, Chipsticks, in your own inimitable way.

    • February 15, 2011 at 9:54 pm

      “This wonderful time is being written indelibly one real, yet symbolic, deed at a time, and no one will ever be able to take that away.”

      Ah, A.L.Zymers, your words are a joy. Love ya.

  8. 11 Eleroy
    February 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    This is beautiful!!! What can I say? President Obama ROCKS!!!

  9. 12 Carolyn
    February 15, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    I love it when impossible dreams come true!

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