Lowery: Mandela greatest statesman of our time - CBS46 News

Lowery: Mandela greatest statesman of our time

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

Civil rights legend Rev. Joseph E. Lowery said the loss of Nelson Mandela has filled him with sadness and peace.

Lowery was on the committee that organized Mandela's visit to Atlanta in 1990. Mandela planned the trip just months after he was released from prison.

Lowery said the showing of support for the man who had just spent 27 years behind bars was amazing.

"Nothing like it, there was nothing like it, he attracted crowds of people everywhere," Lowery said. "Wherever he was going to be, people came in droves to get a glimpse of him. He is undoubtedly the greatest statesman of our time."

Lowery said he felt peace when he learned of Mandela's death because he felt that the man who had done so much for humanity was finally able to take a break.

"If anybody ever deserved rest, it was Nelson Mandela," Lowery said. "Twenty-seven years in prison and then when he came out, his spirit undaunted, head high, no bitterness, not looking back, but looking forward to lead his nation to peace and prosperity."

Lowery said Mandela's gift was his strength and leadership.

"I don't know any other human being who has carried the mantle of leadership to the extent of Nelson Mandela," Lowery said. "He was the father of all of black Africa."

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