Usually, when the Guilford County Board of Commissioners adopt a resolution honoring the life of someone, it’s a local person who has done noteworthy things.

However, at the board’s Thursday, August 6 meeting, the commissioners will honor the life of a national civil rights figure, the late John Lewis, who served in the US House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district for over three decades until his death last month.

Lewis, who died of pancreatic cancer, has been honored by many public bodies in the wake of his death, and, at the August 6 meeting, Commissioner Skip Alston, who knows a thing or two about fighting for civil rights himself, will read the resolution.

Alston said this week that Lewis was a remarkable figure and Alston added that he was honored to have met him and interacted with him over the years. He said that Lewis had been to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro twice – once before it opened and then once after it was open. He added that the museum had given Lewis two awards in the past and said he felt it was important to honor him at the commissioners meeting in light of his passing.

“We have passed resolutions for national figures before,” Alston said, adding that, if anyone deserved to be honored by the board, it was Lewis.

Alston said this is an extremely important time in the fight for civil rights across America and said the death of George Floyd – who died earlier this year under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer – had changed the conversation in race relations.

“I think something is different now,” he said.

When asked who he saw as the most important national civil rights leader now that Lewis is no longer with us, Alston said there was not one dominant figure but added that the fight would be carried on by many individuals who are fighting for equal rights.