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Mourning Nelson Mandela

453923389.jpg.CROP.rtstory-largeA state burial for former South African President Nelson Mandela will be held on Dec. 15, with a memorial service set for Tuesday (Dec. 10) in a Johannesburg stadium.

The anti-apartheid activist and hero to many around the globe died Thursday afternoon at age 95. His passing has triggered an outpouring of emotion that is ladened with iconic-level respect.

Here are some local reflections:



Beverly Robertson, president of the National Civil Rights Museum:

"The National Civil Rights Museum shares a deep sense of loss with human and civil rights activists all over the world as we mourn the passing of a great icon. Mr. Mandela dedicated his life to changing the oppressive nature of apartheid in South Africa, which restricted access to public accommodations for black South Africans. We have lost a great soldier and a courageous leader.

"We honored Mr. Mandela in 2000 with the sole Freedom Award that year because of his tremendous impact on human rights for Africans, but also for people throughout the world. When he visited the museum he cried saying he was touched by the tribute to Dr. King and the civil rights movement.

"We are saddened by his transition, but we will forever remember his sacrifice and contribution. Our deepest sympathy we send to the Mandela family and to the nation of South Africa."

Mayor A C Wharton Jr.:

"The world has lost a true giant with the passing of Nelson Mandela."

In the simplest gesture, at the Mayor's direction, the profile photos for his Facebook and Twitter accounts now have a photo of Nelson Mandela displayed.

Madeleine Taylor, executive director Memphis Branch NAACP:

"We will heave a big sigh of relief as this Warrior is released from the struggle to free his people. The world owes a debt of gratitude to Nelson Mandela for his courageous example."

Mark Stansbury, radio personality, retired administrator, photojournalist:

"In 2000 when President Nelson Mandela came to Memphis to receive the Freedom Award from the NCRM, I was fortunate to serve on a committee headed by Ms. Rose Flenorl that coordinated the morning Forum.

"I attended the Forum held at Bountiful Blessings and was blessed to see and hear him address the crowd.

"Although, I didn't not meet him personally he has left a mark on me with his quote, 'It is better to lead from behind and to let others believe they are in front.'"

Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators Chairman Larry Miller:

"Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to the family of Nelson Mandela and the people of South Africa. Mr. Mandela was a true inspiration to not only his fellow countrymen, but the entire world. His instrumental role in ending apartheid and bringing true democracy to South Africa showed us all that we should never give up the fight for justice and equality."

Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09):

"As a fighter for both human and civil rights, no one was greater than Nelson Mandela," said Congressman Cohen. "Much like Martin Luther King Jr., President Mandela had a dream for his people that fundamentally changed society for the better. And much like Abraham Lincoln, President Mandela understood the virtue of reconciliation and the value of making peace with one's enemies for the betterment of their country. This understanding helped unify a divided people and heal the wounds of apartheid."

"After hearing of his passing, I looked at the statue of President Mandela that sits on my Capitol Hill desk with great sadness, but with many fond memories of the humility, self-sacrifice, and enduring warmth shown by one of our generation's most revered and respected statesmen. The loss that his passing represents to the world community can only be offset by his countless good deeds and the transformative example that he set for each of us."

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn.:

"As an inspirational leader, Nelson Mandela brought about a better way of life for his people of South Africa and inspired millions throughout the world. While we are all saddened by his passing, his personal story and contributions to freedom, democracy, and human rights will live on forever."

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)

"Visiting Nelson Mandela's Robben Island prison cell and then reading his autobiography taught our family inspiring lessons from a remarkable life that helped to achieve a political result few imagined possible."

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