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Gone, but not forgotten

President Barack Obama embraces Rep. John Lewis.

President Barack Obama embraces Rep. John Lewis. Credit: Pete Souza

Daily Point

What now for Heartland Town Square?

Developer Jerry Wolkoff, who fought for decades to build Heartland Town Square in Brentwood, was a powerhouse among Long Island’s developers.

But with Wolkoff’s death at age 83, the question for Heartland — and for Long Island’s continued need for housing and other development — is: Now what? 

Find out how Heartland Town Square could still become a reality here.

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Talking Point

The picture that told a thousand words

Pete Souza’s photograph of Rep. John Lewis and President Barack Obama captures an intimate moment: the civil rights leader and the first Black president embracing, the “Conscience of Congress” with his eyes closed and a facial expression that seems to project the kind of happiness that hurts. 

As news spread about Lewis’ death over the weekend, so did the photograph. Souza, chief official White House photographer for Obama, tweeted it and put it on Instagram, where it racked up a quarter of a million likes. Obama used it in his own multiplatform tribute to Lewis, spreading the image further. 

But Souza told The Point that he may have “overlooked the importance” of the photo when he first took it on the 50th anniversary memorial of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama, when Lewis returned to the scene of one of the seminal moments in American history. 

The image wasn’t in Souza’s book of Obama photographs, though he says other Selma images were included. He remembers posting it on Instagram months ago, but the traction it got this time was far beyond. 

“I think this is the first time it's, you know, sort of been widely seen,” he said. 

Souza made the image during the ceremony honoring the events of 1965 when Lewis and other activists were violently attacked by state troopers during a march for voting rights. Souza said he almost never pre-planned shots: “sort of like what happens happens.” He was in the press pool area with other photographers and anticipated the hug, using a longer lens to create a tighter shot on the two men as opposed to one with other elements in the picture. 

Afterward, he moved on: “I knew I had the hug but it wasn't like I stopped and looked at the back of my camera to see.”

Liked and reshared by thousands this weekend, the image seemed to strike a nerve with contemporary viewers, the perfect combination of subjects and composition and facial expressions and historical resonance.

“It’s John Lewis and the first African American president,” Souza said, “kind of like what John Lewis was fighting for all along.” 

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Just one more

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Quick Points

  • As cases of coronavirus continue to rise nationally with no plateau in sight, President Donald Trump said he will be “right eventually” in his repeated prediction that the virus will “disappear.” Please define “eventually.” Because the medieval Black Death disappeared eventually, too.
  • Supreme Court watchers eager to extol or criticize the court for its liberal-pleasing decisions this term might want to remember: When presented with four cases of Republicans trying to make it harder for Americans to vote, the court said “yes” each time.
  • President Donald Trump declines to say whether he will accept the results of the November election. That’s because he believes there are only two possible scenarios. Either he wins … or Joe Biden loses.
  • The White House is trying to block billions of dollars in new congressional aid for states to do testing and contact tracing for COVID-19, and for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Pentagon and the State Department to fight the pandemic here and abroad. It’s the most perverse definition ever of starving the beast.
  • What do you call federal troops in Portland, many with no identifying information, riding in unmarked vans, breaking up protests with tear gas, stun grenades and impact munitions, and detaining citizens with no links to the protests? Professional agitators.
  • Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is an “alarmist” on the coronavirus, according to President Donald Trump. If by that Trump means that Fauci is alarmed by the spread of the killer virus and the nation’s inability to contain it – well, yeah.
  • With accolades for Rep. John Lewis pouring in from congressional peers after the civil rights icon’s death, perhaps they’d like to give him a proper memorial by showing that action speaks louder than words: Restore the core of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie