Local reaction to Nelson Mandela's death

12:39 AM, Dec 6, 2013   |    comments
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Nelson Mandela, center, with Rev. Joseph Lowery and Rev. Walter Kimbrough at Cascade United Methodist Church

ATLANTA -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela made two trips to Atlanta, in 1990 and 1993. 

In July 1993 his second visit included public appearances at the King Center, at Cascade United Methodist Church in southwest Atlanta, and at Clark Atlanta University, where he was conferred with an honorary degree.

Mandela Died Thursday at the age of 95.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed issued the following statement about Mandela's death:

"Today, we mourn the passing of a leader who was peerless in his sacrifice, courage and commitment to changing not only a nation, but the world. Nelson Mandela was truly a hero for the entire human race. As an undergraduate student at Howard University, I had the opportunity to meet President Mandela when he visited the campus in 1994. I was profoundly moved by his strength, dignity and grace. A photograph from that day hangs in my office; Mr. Mandela has been a constant source of inspiration for me and millions across the globe. We are all better because of the life he lived."

Former President Jimmy Carter issued this statement:

"Rosalynn and I are deeply saddened by the death of Nelson Mandela. The people of South Africa and human rights advocates around the world have lost a great leader. His passion for freedom and justice created new hope for generations of oppressed people worldwide, and because of him, South Africa is today one of the world's leading democracies. In recent years, I was gratified to be able to work with him through The Elders to encourage resolution of conflicts and advance social justice and human rights in many nations. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family at this difficult time."

In 1990, just after Mandela was released from a South African jail, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson attended his speech at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta during his 8-city tour of the United States:

"What impressed me most about Nelson Mandela was his humble spirit of forgiveness and love towards those who persecuted him. Neither angry nor vindictive, and with great courage and dignity, he endured 27 years in prison, sacrificing his liberty for the sake of all South Africans. Ultimately, he lived a life of triumph over evil and adversity, leaving the world a better place for his journey amongst us. The spirit of his life will remain in my heart as long as I live."

US Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) released a statement late Thursday afternoon regarding the life of Mandela.

"The world lost a selfless champion of freedom, democracy and equality today. Nelson Mandela's courage in the face of terrible injustice helped dismantle apartheid, and his determined leadership guided South Africa through a process of reconciliation that at one time seemed impossible. Mandela's legacy will be one of dignity, forgiveness and a profound dedication to the principles that all free people hold dear. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the people of South Africa."

Statement from Fulton County Chairman John Eaves on the Death of President Nelson Mandela:

We are deeply saddened by the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, a man of immense courage, integrity and passion for his beloved country. The tremendous sacrifices he made to free all South Africans from the bondage of apartheid will be forever remembered and admired around the world, and especially by his friends here in the United States and in Fulton County. His place in history is secured by the dignity, grace and strength of character he displayed in the face of tyranny. We are heartened by the fact that he lived to see his goals accomplished and his people free. We are blessed to have had Nelson Mandela among us for the many years of life he was granted.

Statement from Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell on the death of Nelson Mandela:

"I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Nelson Mandela. His courage and perseverance reached beyond the boundaries of South Africa and served as an inspiration for the entire world."

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church's Bishop Eddie Long issued this statement:

My heart is heavy and saddened to learn of the passing of an anti-apartheid revolutionary hero. Nelson Mandela inspired us, challenged us, and showed us how to fight for equality and freedom, for all mankind, without violence. He was a remarkable President, who changed the course of history by overcoming the struggles of hatred and apartheid. Nelson Mandela laid a path of righteousness that will never die. We will forever honor his tremendous spirit. May God rest his soul.

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