"The evil of bigotry gives way to the power of redemption!"
Man Asks Entire Town for Forgiveness for Racism
2.06.09: 48 Years Ago, He Attacked Future Rep. John Lewis; Now the Two Hug
Elwin Wilson and John Lewis
Nearly half a century ago, in a very different America, Elwin Wilson and John Lewis met under a veil of violence and race-inspired hate. The men had not seen each other again until Tuesday when, with "Good Morning America's" help, Wilson approached Lewis again -- this time offering an apology and a chance to relieve a burden he'd carried for more than four decades.
He was asked a question by a friend, his answer wasn't what it should have been, and he knew that.
Wilson, a young, white, Southern man, attacked Lewis, a freedom rider for Martin Luther King, in the "white" waiting room of a South Carolina bus station.
Nearly half a century ago, in a very different America, Elwin Wilson and John Lewis met under a veil of violence and race-inspired hate.
Wilson was in the group, but said he "did more than help." He said he was the main attacker.
The outburst, Wilson said, was just part of a life of hate he led for years.
"I had a black baby doll in this house, and I had a little rope, and I tied it to a limb and let it hang here," he said.
In a diner, with a look of glee on his face, he threw eggs at black men who tried to enter.
He watched as Barack Obama was sworn in as President, he didn't vote for Barack but he's prayed for him.
Wilson has been on his own freedom march in search of forgiveness.
He went back to the diner where he threw eggs. He went all around town, apologizing to anyone he may have wronged.
One of those was Representative Lewis and Mr. Wilson sought him out in Washington DC seeking his forgiveness, he found what he sought and certainly much more!