Trees to pay tribute to the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis

ATLANTA (AP) — Hundreds of blooming trees will be planted in an Atlanta park in a tribute to the late Congressman John Lewis.

The Freedom Park Conservancy said Thursday that volunteers will plant 300 blooming trees, colorful flowering shrubs and fields of daffodils in Freedom Park in a phased project that will take several years to complete. Volunteers can sign up to help with the project's first phase set to begin Feb. 19-21, WSB-TV reported.

“The trees and flowering plants have been selected for their early blooming in late winter (specifically around February) to celebrate the civil rights icon’s birthday with a spectacular blooming event each year. The desire to honor John Lewis’ life and legacy inspired the Freedom Park Conservancy, Trees Atlanta, and The National Center for Civil and Human Rights to bring together their commitments to community stewardship, urban tree cover, and civic storytelling,” the park conservancy said.

“This February’s planting will create a natural annual blooming event that celebrates a great man who represented Atlanta for nearly four decades. Our tree tribute will continue growing for generations to honor his impact on social justice,” said Greg Levine, co-executive director of Trees Atlanta.

Over a five-year period, the Freedom Park Conservancy will lead the effort to extend the “Flowering Forest” with additional trees through Freedom Park, the largest linear park in Atlanta. The blooming trees will link John Lewis Plaza, The Carter Center and The King Center.

Tree selections will include mostly native varieties of redbuds, magnolias, dogwoods, yellowwoods, buckeyes, fringe trees, and other flowering species.

“Freedom Park has an important legacy in the areas of art, activism and nature, and this tree installation will honor John Lewis and allow us to reinforce his legacy for future generations,” said Harriett Lane, Freedom Park Conservancy Chair.

Greg Levine, Co-Executive Director of Trees Atlanta noted, “This February’s planting will create a natural annual blooming event that celebrates a great man who represented Atlanta for nearly four decades. Our tree tribute will continue growing for generations to honor his impact on social justice.”

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights’ Head of Programs & Exhibitions, Dr. Calinda Lee explained, “Congressman Lewis sowed seeds of hope and equity. His life’s work was an undaunted fight for civil and human rights — without prejudice or exception. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is honored to join this partnership to celebrate John L. Lewis’s legacy and to serve as a tangible reminder of the beauty that can grow from a commitment to stay in good trouble. We look forward to sharing the Congressman’s story to inspire the changemaker in each of us.”

All volunteers must register in advance, spaces limited.

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