The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Former KKK member apologizes to 1961 Freedom Rider, now Congressman

with 2 comments

This’ll bring some healing – both directions, I expect.
clipped from blog.sojo.net

Rep. John Lewis

Rep. John Lewis

On May 9, 1961, when the … Freedom Riders came into town and attempted to enter an all white waiting room at the bus station, Ku Klux Klan member Elwin Wilson of Rock Hills, South Carolina was there. When he saw future U.S. Representative John Lewis enter, Wilson attacked, pummeling the young civil rights worker, who responded with nonviolence. […]A few weeks ago, Elwin Wilson contacted representative Lewis to apologize for beating Lewis nearly 48 years ago.

For the past several weeks, Wilson has been apologizing to members of the African-American community in Rock Hills for his numerous acts of racial hatred. He has had the guts to simply say “I’m sorry.” And representative John Lewis responded to this former member of the KKK with mercy, grace, and forgiveness […]

Lewis said that Elwin Wilson is the very first person out of the hundreds who attacked and abused him during the civil rights struggle to say “I’m sorry.”

If we are to continue to come to terms with our tragic racial history, Wilson cannot be the last to have the courage to say “I’m sorry.”

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Amen to that.  Takes guts to apologize.  Takes guts to forgive. But contrition and forgiveness are mighty restorers.

Just as racism—America’s “original” sin—has tainted us all, such transcendent heroism makes us all a little bit better.  Thank you, Wilson.  Thank you, Lewis.


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2 Responses

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  1. Amen. They have blessed us all.

    Monte

    February 26, 2009 at 8:22 pm

  2. Thank You Mr. Wilson.
    Thank You Mr. Lewis.

    Sharon

    February 26, 2009 at 5:44 pm


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