Marianna resident Cookie Marks and friends who participated as teenagers and young adults in local civil rights era sit-ins, marches and eat-ins have been talking more about those old days this week, as the funeral of legendary civil rights activist and longtime Senator John Lewis approached.
Marks met him once, at a civil rights event at a church in Atlanta, where she had moved as a young adult and hooked up with other young activists there. He had been on the podium that day, not the main speaker but an acknowledged leader that stood with Martin Luther King Jr. and others in the fight for justice.
Marks’ father had marched in Selma, Alabama and took part in many other events when Lewis was building his legacy. He’d mentioned Lewis to his daughter as an up-and-comer in the movement.
She was excited, then, to see him in person that day in Atlanta. Their encounter was a simple hand-shake and a pleasantry or two. He thanked her for being there.
He would be an inspiration in her life as she continued doing her part in the movement.
As he was laid to rest at South-View Cemetery in Atlanta Thursday, Marks reflected on that fact and on the days where she and now lifelong friends took their own stand together.
“He was a man of action in a godly way and that is part of what I respect about him so much, accomplishing so much in a spirit of non-violence and love and determination,” Marks said.
His death, she said, brought up a lot of memories, and also inspiration to continue her own striving to influence and support positive change.
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