MISSOULA, Mont. - Nelson Mandela's death has left many Montanans feeling reflective.
The South African leader's extraordinary life has been a beacon of leadership for scores of Americans.
The University of Montana's director of African American Studies called for a moment of silence.
Tobin Shearer's class bowed their heads in honor of Mandela.
The Associate Professor and PhD historian teaches a class on slavery at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
Americans share that sad history of race based segregation with South Africa, said the teacher.
"We mourn his passing as a moral leader," said Shearer,"as a vision of the possibility of forgiveness and of moving forward without having to resort to violence upon those who had been your original oppressors."
The Jeannette Rankin Peace Center's Betsy Mulligan-Dague was also reflective on the world leader.
"The biggest thing," said Mulligan-Dague,"is his lesson about restorative justice instead of punishment."So when the country was healing from apartheid, instead of punishing people, he brought them together to face each other and work together."