Rep. John Robert Lewis, was a civil rights icon who worked alongside some of the greatest black leaders in history. He spent a lifetime in the fight for equality for black people in America having worked alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and countless others. In 2011, he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama. Sadly, he died on July 17, 2020 due to complications with pancreatic cancer.
As part of a wreath-laying ceremony that honoured Pan African leaders in on July 27th, the Diaspora African Forum unveiled the name of Rep. John Robert Lewis on the Sankofa Wall located at their headquarters behind the W.E.B. Dubois Centre in Accra. The Diaspora African Forum is supported by the African Union and its Head of Mission is H.E. Ambassador Erieka Bennett. Their vision is to bridge the gap between the African diaspora and Africa. They are consistently dedicated to recognizing people who have made significant contributions to the advancement of people of African descent around the world.
The addition of John Robert Lewis’ name to the wall, is important because it reminds us of how united we are in the fight for our freedoms as people of African descent. Those in attendance of the ceremony included, the Minister of Tourism Arts & Culture, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Akwasi Ababio, Executive Director of PANAFEST, Rabbi Kohain, and Director of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, Alhaji Abubakari Issah Osman.
Last year, Lewis visited Ghana with the Congressional Black Caucus and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It was a historical trip as they participated in the Year of Return by commemorating the 400-year anniversary of the first documented ship of enslaved Africans who arrived in the English colony that is now the United States. In commemorating the year, it was also an opportunity to celebrate the resilience of the African spirit. He paid a visit to the dungeons at both the Cape Coast and Elmina Castle which was significant because that is where millions of captured Africans were transported through during the slave trade era.
The name, John Robert Lewis, will live forever on the Sankofa Wall in Ghana. A symbolic return to the motherland and a testament and representative of the ancestors who never imagined one of their descendants would ever return home.
By: Ivy Prosper