Remembering Congressman, John Lewis, He Kept The Faith

The news is quickly spreading about the passing of Civil Rights Leader Congressman John Lewis who was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in December 2019. There’s no doubt in my mind he remained faithful during his time of treatments. Even though this disease is aggressive, Congressman Lewis fought to the end and won his battle. For he is a winner for all the lives he helped make better.

“I have been in some kind of fight — freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,” Lewis said in a statement. “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now. I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross.” John Lewis served as a member of the U. S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th Congressional district in his 17th term in the House. https://johnlewis.house.gov/

I shall never forget the day I had the pleasure of interviewing Congressman Lewis on November 18th of 2016. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with a Civil Rights Legend. To just sit and hear the stories, the experiences, and rich history was a humbling experience.

I remember the all-powerful speech he delivered at the Alfred & Adele Davis Academy, https://www.davisacademy.org/ the largest Jewish K-8th private school in Georgia. Congressman Lewis was a leader who supported the school’s values of respect, wisdom, spirit, community, and justice. The subject of his speech focused mainly on his life, his works, and his books.

Childhood Memories

Congressman Lewis began his speech by amusing the crowd with memories of how he had fallen in love with raising chickens. He gave examples of how he enjoyed entertaining by preaching to chickens as a young boy. At that time, he and his family lived in the rural part of Alabama known as Troy. His father worked as a sharecropper to provide for the family. Memories of signs that read “For White Men and For Colored Men” were permanently marked in his head.

On days when movies were shown at the local library, his loving parents would instruct him to NOT get into trouble or get in the way. It was customary for Blacks to sit in the balcony while whiles went downstairs. Around the age of 16 years old, he started paying attention to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King.

The Journey

In 1961, at the age of 21, he volunteered to be a part of a group known as the Freedom Riders. The initial meeting place was in Washington, DC. A group of 13 people, including blacks and whites traveled together in a fight for justice. As they moved through places like Virginia and Charlotte, NC there were incidents where beatings, and arrests were made with subsequent overnight jail stays. John Lewis has been arrested a total of 40 times or more. Would you believe after 48 years, a 70-year-old man along with his 40-year-old son came to his office to ask for forgiveness of their acts of violence taken against him?

Good Trouble

In 1963, the March on Washington was organized. John Lewis was youngest speaker to attend and he remains the only Living Legend. President Kennedy once said to him “You did a good job”.

President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Law in 1964, followed by the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Because he wanted to register to vote, Congressman Lewis marched many miles from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. They stood in line in Marion, Alabama to protest for hours.

Further, in 1965 he led a group of 600 people across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama as he carried a backpack containing 2 books, 1 apple, 1 orange and 1 toothbrush. He was the first person to be hit and literally thought death was upon him, but he continued to push and kept the faith. There were gas masks, trampling horses and tear gas along with a chaotic scene. A lady from the Good Samaritan Hospital who nursed him back to good health has since paid to see him while visiting in Rochester, NY.

Book Three

Congressman Lewis has penned a total of three books. March: Book 3 is completed and has appeared on the #1 New York Best Seller list, available at www.amazon.com. The books tell stories about what changes have occurred over the years. The graphic novels are used in schools to tell the stories of Civil Rights. Today, the only place you will see signs from the 1940s, 1950s or 1960s will be in books, museums or videos.

Despite all the turmoil, Congressman Lewis is not bitter but he believed America is a better country today. He felt we are a nation that can change the world by showing non-violence, no hatred, or bitterness. His desire was that the kids of today will learn to keep hope and stay optimistic. Those moments I spent with Congressman Lewis will be treasured forever.

Be sure to check out the blog for more stories of inspirational people.

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Lifestyle blogger who loves Fashion, Beauty, Entertainment & Travel. Sightings of People, Places & Things. Follow @frommybigeyes https://www.frommybigeyes.com/

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Janet Montgomery

Janet Montgomery

Lifestyle blogger who loves Fashion, Beauty, Entertainment & Travel. Sightings of People, Places & Things. Follow @frommybigeyes https://www.frommybigeyes.com/

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