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UToledo Professor Emeritus remembers John Lewis

Dr. Helen Cooks spent years teaching TOLEDO EXCEL scholars about civil rights and even had them join the march on the 30th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

TOLEDO, Ohio — On Thursday, the nation said a final farewell to civil rights icon John Lewis. His life and legacy impacted so many, including a local University of Toledo professor.

Dr. Helen Cooks has several fond memories of Lewis, including wisdom he shared with one of her classes.

"You have to believe that every personality is something special, that the human personality is something sacred. It is not to be abused, not to be destroyed, but to be enhanced. You have to accept the philosophy of love," Cooks said, reading a transcription of Lewis's words.

In Dr. Cooks' time with the TOLEDO EXCEL program, the scholarship students have recorded and transcribed 172 interviews with civil rights leaders.