In what may be the ultimate display of remorse and forgiveness, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and the White segregationist who beat him to a bloody pulp nearly five decades ago, stood shoulder to shoulder as brothers in the fight against hatred and ignorance.
Lewis, a civil rights leader who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the ’50s and ’60s, and Elwin Wilson, who was part of a mob that attacked Lewis and other Freedom Riders as they rolled up at a bus depot in Rock Hill, S.C., in 1961, were chosen to receive the Common Ground Award at the Canadian Embassy in Washington last Thursday.
The award is reserved for those individuals who have led the way in bridging divides between enemies, finding solutions to seemly deep-seated problems, and providing inspiration and hope.
In January, Lewis and Wilson met for the first time in 48 years when Wilson apologized to Lewis. The congressman gladly apologized, saying it was time to move on.