Hundreds gathered in downtown Nashville on Saturday, July 23, to honor the memory of one of American Baptist College’s most notable graduates, Rep. John Lewis. The second annual event included a commemorative march, stirring musical entertainment, and remarks from local leaders.
ABC President Forrest Harris provided the invocation and reminded participants why it’s important to keep Lewis’s legacy. “One year ago, we gathered here to dedicate this street – Rep. John Lewis Way. Today, American democracy is under attack. It is time for us to join together again for change, because ‘the John Lewis Way’ is still alive.”
The Rev. Kelly Miller Smith Jr., of Nashville’s First Baptist Church-Capitol Hill, also emphasized the importance of staying focused, noting, “We can’t rest on our successes, nor in our struggles. We have to continue moving forward.”
The day was truly a community-wide endeavor, featuring a high school band, musical performers, civic leaders, and marchers of all ages. Both ABC and Fisk University, Lewis’s two alma maters, were presented with $1,500 contributions as part of the event. ABC’s gift will go toward the John Lewis Endowed Scholarship.
“It is our goal to continue the recognition of this great congressman, whose indelible legacy began in Nashville,” said Metro Councilwoman Zulfat Suara, chair of the John Lewis Way Committee. Added Sen. Brenda Gilmore, co-chair of the committee, “We are continuing to honor this great public servant because he is most deserving, and we hope to keep his memory alive for years to come.”