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Rep. John Lewis on Quincy Jones and Brock Peters

We are the World” is so powerful. It became something that others have tried to copy, but nobody, no one, can repeat what Quincy Jones did. I first met Quincy Jones shortly after the assassination of Dr. King. I’ve seen him from time to time in Washington, D.C. Two years ago, the Congressional Black Caucus honored him. I saw him again in South Africa in 1994 during the days of the inauguration of Nelson Mandela. We talked about the changes that occurred in America. And we talked about the changes in Africa and around the world. His fingerprint is on so much American music today. He has inspired and informed so many of the young musicians.

I also want to mention Lena Horne and Brock Peters. I first met Lena Horne in August 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. She was there for the March on Washington. She had raised money for the civil rights movement, and during the 1963-65 period she would talk about the young people in the South. Brock Peters was also very committed to the struggle in the South. He was one of these strong black men who has such a great presence, not just through his voice but through the positions that he took in defending civil rights and civil liberties. Lena Horne and Brock Peters were deeply affected by what they saw around them, and also at what they saw at a distance. It took real courage for them to stand up, to say something, to do what I call “to get in the way.”

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