Pitt Co. NAACP President recalls meeting John Lewis

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Sunday marks the second day of celebrations and services honoring Representative John Lewis.

The nation is mourning his death, including people in the East, who knew his impact in civil rights.

Calvin Henderson is the President of Pitt County’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

He had the opportunity to meet Lewis years ago.

“He was a very humble, God-fearing man,” said Henderson. “That’s the only way I can describe him. Very humble.”

Henderson met Lewis in the late 2000s at a national NAACP convention.

“It was an honor,” said Henderson. “It was almost like breathtaking that I shook hands with John Lewis.”

Henderson says Lewis dedicated his 80-year life to promoting change, which young people still have the power to bring about.

“It’s important for young people today to take advantage of the opportunity that lies before them,” he said. “Doors have been opened. Opportunity has been made available, but you’ve got to step up and take advantage of it.”

Henderson says it’s up to Black Americans to carry on Lewis’ legacy.

“He always had a message,” said Henderson. “John’s message was one that we have got to stand up and we have got to fight if we want to turn this thing around for our children. John wasn’t fighting for himself. He was fighting for the future of the young generation.”

Henderson says violence is not the answer in promoting change.

“We can bring about change if we stop looking at the negative and look at what Dr. King and John said–that the greatest tool that we have against hate is love,” he said.

Henderson says easy ways for young people to make a difference are to learn about John Lewis’ life and follow his example.

Another way is to vote.

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