ATLANTA -- There was no other city in America closer to post-apartheid South Africa than Atlanta.
The civil rights movement here informed the civil rights movement there; and in a city of legendary leaders, Mandela's presence inspired awe even among that elite pantheon.
Tonight we spoke to several about their reflections on his legacy.
Elder Bernice King:
Congressman John Lewis:
- "To just come into his presence and to hear him speak was so profoundly healing, because you could sense as the words came forth that they were coming out of a place of forgiveness, a place of love, a place of healing, a place of reconciliation."
Ambassador Andrew Young:
- "And I knew when I first met him, that I was in the presence of greatness he inspired so many people nt just in africa the continent but around the world."
- "He never had an easy life. But he rose above the difficulties of this life by the power of his spirit."
- "There's an old African proverb that says as long as people call your name you're not dead. Well they'll be calling Nelson Mandela's name from now on. So in that sense, he'll not die. And i don't know anyone who needs a rest more than Nelson Mandela. While I'll miss him and am saddened by his death, I don't want to deny him the rest that he has so richly deserved."
Rev. Lowery added that reconciliation may be the most important part of Mandela's legacy, the ability to pull together disparate sides a country that was on the threshold of violent retribution for the sins of apartheid.
He says today's divided America can learn from that example.
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