Local Leaders Remember Nelson Mandela

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Meridian, Miss. People around the world are reflecting on the life of Nelson Mandela, including those right here in our area.

The former South African President died Thursday at the age of 95 after suffering from a chronic lung infection. Mandela spent nearly three decades in prison for conspiracy to overthrow the South African government. He would later serve as the country's president from 1994 to 1999. Local leaders are now reflecting on the racial barriers Mandela broke.

"Nelson Mandela had a very positive approach toward overcoming obstacles that existed and I think he helped to teach the world that you know, we can live in harmony and peace and that all of us should work together as God's children," Representative Charles Young, Jr. says.

"His tenacity," Randle Jennings with the Meridian-Lauderdale County NAACP remembers. "He didn't leave his country with bitterness and hatred with what had happened to him. He was able to forgive and overcome. And that was one of the things that I prided myself in picking up on his personality."

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to South Africa next week to pay their respects.