Congressman John Lewis who died on Friday, July 17, 2020 at age 80 is what human beings aspire to be. He focused his life on ending racism and pursued it with purpose and humility.

Dedication of Al-Farooq Mosque

I had been hired to photograph the dedication ceremonies of Atlanta’s Al-Farooq Mosque on 14th Street on August 17, 2008. I took off my shoes as is the custom when entering the mosque proper. That’s when I very briefly met Representative Lewis. He was very connected to each person he spoke with. Just like everyone else he stood in his socks chatting with people.

John Lewis with guests at the dedication of the Al-Farooq Mosque in Atlanta, Georgia August 17, 2008. Photo by Kevin Ames
John Lewis with other guests inside the Al-Farooq Mosque dedication.

I finished making photos inside the mosque, so I went to the lobby where I put my shoes on. I turned and made the photograph below of Mr. Lewis tying his shoe. Even with this simple act we all do everyday, he did it with dignity.

John Lewis ties his shoe in the lobby of the Al-Farooq Mosque in Atlanta, Georgia August 17, 2008. Photo by Kevin Ames
John Lewis outside the mosque tying his shoe.

I am grateful that I had just a short encounter with this amazing man.

Godspeed, John Lewis.

©2008 Kevin Ames