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Remembering Nelson Mandela

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, July 4 1993.

Nelson Mandela with President Bill Clinton at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, on July 4 1993.

Official White House Photo

Around the world, people are pausing to remember and honor Nelson Mandela, who passed away today.

My memory is traveling in South Africa during apartheid; hiding in the back of cars to go into “coloured only” and “black only” areas; meeting with lawyers in the anti-apartheid struggle who had been banned from law practice and from their homes; visiting “blacks only” hospitals and neighborhoods; and being refused service at a “coloured only” restaurant because of the color of my skin. All the while, Mandela was in prison, breaking rocks and inspiring a movement for justice.

I am grateful for his life, his courage and tenacity, his passion for justice, and the inspiration he gave to people of all races around the globe. Thank you, Nelson Mandela.