NC politicians reflect on Mandela's reach

From staff reportsDecember 5, 2013 

“He showed how he could forgive his enemy and still be the person to lead. That takes tremendous strength. I’m grateful to have had the pleasure to have met him twice, but I’m also grateful for the legacy he leaves.”

Eva Clayton

a former U.S. representative and Democrat from Warrenton

“The people of South Africa will forever be in debt for his role in ending apartheid, and the rest of the world inspired by his leading a divided nation into a new, prosperous era. Today, we all mourn his passing, but take comfort in the enduring lessons of his life that will live forever.”

Sen. Richard Burr

a Republican from Winston-Salem

“I join with the rest of the world in mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela, an icon of civil rights. ... (On meeting Mandela in 1990, nearly six months after Mandela’s release from prison) To have the opportunity to spend an evening with this world figure and to listen to him speak is one of the highlights of my life.”

U.S. Rep. Howard Coble

a Republican from Greensboro

“ Mandela was an icon of the global community. He epitomized leadership, humanitarianism, and activism. In many ways, Mandela inspired my life and career. ... Unequivocally, there will never be another quite like Nelson Mandela.”

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield

a Democrat from Wilson

“He was crucial to bringing a peaceful end to apartheid, but more importantly, he helped to heal the wide racial divisions to an extent that few thought possible. He worked not only to assure the black people of the nation would achieve their political rights but also – as much as possible given the history of the country – to convince the white population that they were still very much a part of the nation.”

Ken Broun

a former Chapel Hill mayor and UNC-Chapel Hill law professor who wrote “Saving Nelson Mandela, The Rivonia Trial and the Fate of South Africa,” a book published in 2012 by Oxford University Press

“The world has lost a champion for the cause of freedom. President Mandela’s strength in leading South Africa out of apartheid was only exceeded by his personal grace and dignity.”

Gov. Pat McCrory

“He was the model of steadfast commitment to justice, a stalwart devotee of loving your oppressor, and possessed an unwavering determination to the principles of human dignity, unity, and fundamental social change. ... His life resurrected South Africa from the despairing depths of apartheid and also provided a new birth of freedom throughout the entire world.”

The Rev. William Barber II

head of the North Carolina branch of the NAACP

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