A new statue of the late John Lewis was unveiled in early July 2021. (306382)
A new statue of the late John Lewis was unveiled in early July 2021. Credit: Everything Georgia / Twitter

Samuel and Henry Lewis, the younger brothers of the late John Lewis, just watched as dozens of people, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Ambassador Andrew Young, scrambled to get their photos taken in front of a massive statue of the congressman that harkened the opening of the new Rodney Cook Sr. Park in Vine City, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

“All I can say is wow,” Henry Lewis finally said, looking at the crowd and then the statue.

Watching his brother search for words, Samuel Lewis, wearing a “Good Trouble” hat, asked Henry Lewis what their father, Eddie, a sharecropper who in 1944 took $300 in savings and purchased 110 acres of Alabama dirt to make a home for his family, would say at this moment.

“That’s my boy,” Henry Lewis said.

“Yes,” agreed Samuel. “That’s my boy.”

Just 10 days before the one-year anniversary of the passing of John Lewis, another rung to his legacy was filled with the unveiling of his statue at the new 16-acre Cook Park in Atlanta’s Westside on Wednesday.

The city of Atlanta, the Trust for Public Land and the National Monuments Foundation developed the park just west of Mercedes-Benz Stadium (where the Atlanta Falcons play). They hope it revitalizes the struggling but improving Vine City neighborhood by providing a clean and safe outdoor space.

Mayor Bottoms said the park is the first one in Neighborhood Planning Unit-Q and helps get her closer to her goal of having a park within a 10-minute walk of every Atlantan.

“There has always been a richness of community here,” Bottoms said. “And I was blown away by the beauty of this park. It is one thing to see it on paper and another to see it in person.”

George Dusenbury, southern hub director for the Trust for Public Land, called it “the most beautiful park in Atlanta.”

In it, a series of water fountains and a linear pond serve as the park’s major visual features.

The park will include a library to house C.T. Vivian’s 12,000 volumes on civil rights and African American history.

It will be ringed with 18 bronze statues, plaques and monuments dedicated to peacemakers with ties to Georgia, including Young, Vivian, Julian Bond and Martin Luther King Jr., whose last home is only two blocks from the park.

“What this represents is a heritage of peace and reconciliation,” said Young, the former mayor of Atlanta. “We conceived this as a peace park, where we can come and be in peace together. And I have never been to a park like this.”