As hundreds celebrated the life of U.S. Rep. John Lewis on Thursday, a 12-year-old Tennessee boy who recited one of Lewis’ favorite poems stood out during the civil rights icon’s funeral. Tybre Faw delivered one of the most memorable moments of the star-studded goodbye.
In front of a crowd that included three former U.S. presidents and civil rights leaders, Faw helped eulogize Lewis by reading British poet William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. The poem is said to have inspired the likes of former South African president Nelson Mandela and others.
“John Lewis was my hero, my friend. Let’s honor him by getting into that ‘good trouble,'” the boy said, referencing a famous line by the late congressman.
Faw told “CBS This Morning: Saturday” co-host Michelle Miller he wants do exactly that and continue the legacy left by Lewis.
“I want to make it greater and better for everybody,” he said in an interview that aired Friday.
Their friendship began when then-10-year-old Faw met Lewis in Selma, Alabama, during an anniversary of Bloody Sunday. According to “CBS This Morning’ co-host Gayle King, his grandmother said Faw called Lewis and told him he wanted to meet him when he was 9.
“It was really emotional because I met somebody I really cared about,” Faw said.
He went on to attend several events and protests with Lewis, including his final walk in March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. It was the same bridge where Lewis was beaten by Alabama state troopers police during the march to Montgomery on March 7, 1965.
Faw, whose family helped foster his interest in history, said he found out about his July 17 death after a call from his grandma.
“I just lost a friend,” Faw said. “He did all he can. He fulfilled his purpose. He did what he could.”
Lewis was the youngest person to speak at the 1963 March on Washington, and was a friend of Martin Luther King Jr. He served in Congress for over three decades and dedicated his life to justice, leaving a undeniable mark on U.S. history.