Making Things Right

February 8, 2009

A story of redemption and grace starts my morning: 48 years after beating a prominent member of the Civil Rights Movement, a former Ku Klux Klan member apologizes in person with a handshake and hug.

“I tried to block it out of my mind. It kept coming back,” says Elwin Wilson, who attacked John Lewis, now a congressman from Georgia, in the “whites only” area of a Greyhound bus station in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Wilson, now 72, has been haunted with guilt for years. What sparked him to apologize, not just to Lewis but black residents in Rock Hill? Barack Obama’s election.