To remember John Lewis, remember the real John Lewis — and his righteous fight

Many Americans, when they remember the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, reflexively turn to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, quoting selective passages about content of character. But my sister Joan, who stood under a shaded tent that day, making signs with freedom slogans for out-of-towners to raise high, had a different answer when I asked for her thoughts. Not to take anything away from King, she told me, “It wasn’t just that speech. It was all the speeches.” And what impressed her teenage self most were the words of a man who was just 23, a few years older than she was.

On that day, John Lewis was already stirring up the “good trouble” he favored when he said: “To those who have said, ‘Be patient and wait,’ we have long said that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now!”

It was a speech that, in an early draft, was a tad fiery for some elders in the movement for equality and justice. Lewis did tone it down — but not enough to lose its urgency.

Some of the tributes to Lewis, who died last week at the age of 80, emphasized his generosity of spirit, evident in his ability to forgive and embrace those who beat him into unconsciousness. But the picture is incomplete without acknowledging the impatience, the fury to make it right, that saw him through more than three dozen arrests, five after he was elected to Congress. Just as those who would have been or probably were in that majority of Americans who considered King a rabble-rouser then and revere him now, many are all too eager to recast Lewis as a secular saint who just wanted everyone to get along.

Of course, they would. It would let them off the hook.

Dateline Awards for work published, broadcast in 2019 announced online in historic first for SPJ DC Chapter

The ceremony was virtual — no big dinner at the National Press Club. But great news nonetheless: I won the SPJ DC Dateline Award for Online columns for my work at CQ/Roll Call. Announced Tuesday night.

Can church ever be separate from state at a Franklin Graham rally?

[OPINION] CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After the Rev. Billy Graham became less a counselor of presidents and more a political player, particularly in the unfortunate case of Richard Nixon, he learned a lesson. The Rev. Franklin Graham, heir to his father’s legacy, has chosen a different path, arguably becoming as well known for his politics as for his role as a spiritual leader.

Considering his remarks as he brought his “Decision America” tour to his hometown this past weekend, it’s a box Graham the younger is not exactly comfortable being placed in. But for the preacher who credited the “God factor,” in part, for Donald Trump’s 2016 win, that narrative is set. Vocal support of the president pre- and post-election exists right alongside his philanthropic and mission outreach — such as recent efforts in the Bahamas — through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.

Before he took the stage, and as Christian musician Jeremy Camp warmed up the crowd, I asked Graham about where he stands and about the qualities he admires in Trump, who is making his own news as he battles an impeachment inquiry with increasingly rough and divisive language, on Twitter and at rallies, which is anything but Christian.

POLITICAL WRAP: Democratic Debate Preview; Franklin Graham in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – WCCB Charlotte Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis joins WCCB NEWS @ 6:30 to preview Tuesday night’s democratic presidential debate and talk about her interview with Franklin Graham, who visited Charlotte as part of his Decision America tour on Saturda

NO SURPRISE, BLACK WOMEN HAVE ALWAYS TAKEN THE LEAD

You can see the strength and resolve, as well as the beauty, in those historical portraits of Ida B. Wells, the journalist, activist and researcher whose work in the late 19th and early 20th century shed a light on the horror of lynching and so much else. Her actions, undeterred by racism and threats of violence, continued, even when support from those who should have been on her side disappeared. In that, she is connected to African-American women, who have turned to other black women, and ultimately, themselves for guidance and assistance they could depend on.

Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, and What’s Next?

CHARLOTTE. NC — On Tuesday, former Trump lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight charges in federal court in New York, including campaign finance violations for payoffs to influence the 2016 election on behalf of a candidate – not identified, though widely assumed to be Donald Trump. Meanwhile, in a Virginia courtroom, Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight of 18 counts: five counts of filing false tax returns, one count of not filing a report on a foreign bank account and two bank fraud counts.

Omarosa vs. Trump: Reality-Show Drama Meets Politics

CHARLOTTE, NC — In a move that seems like a plot twist in a reality show, Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former and fired top aide to Donald Trump is not going quietly. She has a new book, “Unhinged,” which asserts that the president is unfit. And she has tapes. The president has gone on the attack, with tweets and insults. And now there is a lawsuit over a non-disclosure agreement she signed when she worked for the campaign.

Women Score Big in Key Primaries

In the United States, an African-American woman has never been elected governor. That may happen in 2018 if Stacey Abrams is elected in Georgia. Though she has a tough road, she passed the first hurdle Tuesday night when she was overwhelmingly chosen to be the Democrats’ nominee. In many states, in races for state and federal offices, women are stepping up. What are their chances in November? It’s unclear for now – but you can’t win if you’re not playing, and this election season, women are definitely in it.

Opinion: After Billy Graham, the Deluge

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s difficult to ever imagine another faith leader being dubbed “America’s Pastor.” That’s because of the person Billy Graham was and the current political, social and cultural divisions in our country. And there is also the question of whether pluralistic America wants, needs or should have a pastor — now, then or ever.

Graham was never the universally revered and uncontroversial figure that many of those who now praise him remember. But in reviewing the legacy of a man who lived through much of a century that defined American change and who died at the age of 99 on Wednesday in his home in the North Carolina mountains, it is important to give him his singular, flawed due.

Court panel says N.C. voting maps use unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. What’s next?

CHARLOTTE, NC — North Carolina lawmakers are redrawing the state’s Congressional district maps, after judges called the old ones unconstitutional.

They have two weeks to get it done.

A panel of Federal Judges ruled Republicans’ created an unfair advantage when they used race and other partisan factors to create the current maps.

Our political contributor Mary C. Curtis stopped by Rising to offer some perspective.