During the funeral of prominent Congressman John Lewis, the former US president delivered a powerful eulogy in which he praised the late civil rights icon and his legacy, noting that Lewis ‘will be a founding father of a fuller, fairer, better America’.
In his speech, Obama paid tribute to the late Congressman and leader of the American civil rights movement while also calling for specific action to carry on his legacy.
During his speech, Obama made a timely comparison between the brutal 1965 violence that nearly ended Lewis’ life with the violent suppression of peaceful protests by federal officers today.
Obama also called the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to gut the Voting Rights Act and the wave of voter suppression that followed “an attack on what John fought for”.
Additionally, Obama in his speech called for the end to the disenfranchisement of formerly incarcerated people as well as making Election Day a national holiday.
In his speech, Obama said: “I’ve come here today, because I, like so many Americans, owe a great debt to John Lewis and his forceful vision of freedom,”
Obama discussed Lewis’s life growing up, and how Lewis went on to become one of the greatest advocates for nonviolent resistance this country has seen.
Finally, Obama turned to a powerful and direct political attack on present-day police brutality against Black people and voter and protest suppression efforts. He said: “Bull Connor (the infamous police commissioner who turned dogs and fire hoses on civil rights–era protesters) may be gone, but today we witness, with our own eyes, police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans,”
Watch the full eulogy below: