Congressman John Lewis

A Hero for all Time

John Lewis
Credit: Saint George Thompson

John Lewis dedicated his life to advancing human rights and civil liberties. 

He was one of the leaders of The Great March on Washington for civil rights, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech. Throughout his life he practiced the philosophy of non-violent protest.

Lewis took part in the sit-in movement to desegregate lunch counters in Nashville, TN. Lewis was arrested and jailed many times. He was also beaten many times as one of the original Freedom Riders, who tried to end the practice of segregation on public transportation. This was unconstitutional but unenforced. Once, he was beaten and left for dead at a Greyhound station. 

Yet, he said: “We were determined not to let any act of violence keep us from our goal. We knew our lives could be threatened, but we had made up our minds not to turn back.” John Lewis was often called "one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced“ and is a hero to many. He was awarded the Presidential Medal, the highest civilian honor.

Essay by John Lewis on his hero, Martin Luther King, Jr.

(excerpt from The MY HERO Book: 2005)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By: John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis talks about how his hero Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired him as a young man during the Civil Rights Movement.

Documentaries on John Lewis


Produced by:Anson Schloat and John G. Young

John Lewis, U.S. Congressman, speaks about the importance of being a good citizen.

Get in the Way [Trailer]

Produced by:Dir. Kathleen Dowdey

In 1965, the historic Selma March known as Bloody Sunday was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. John Lewis, then a young student, co-led hundreds of peaceful marchers seeking voting rights for African Americans in the South. 

Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

Read Barack Obama's eulogy for John Lewis and view a short film featuring the last  essay authored by Lewis published in NYT's at his request on the day of his funeral. The editorial titled: “Together, You Can Redeem The Soul Of Our Nation,” was read by Morgan Freeman at the request of MSNBC's host Lawrence O’Donnell.  

John Lewis
Credit: Saint George Thompson

MY HERO Stories on John Lewis

John Lewis

By: Kathy Crockett from My Hero

John Lewis worked for civil rights for all for over 40 years.

John Lewis

By: Callie from Suwanee

Student Callie writes about her hero, John Lewis.


Civil Rights hero John Lewis as painted by Robert Shetterly
Congressman John Lewis by Robert Shetterly
Credit: Robert Shetterly


Community Hero: John Lewis

By: The My Hero Project
No one had to tell John to stand up for what he believed was right; it just came naturally.

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Organizer created on 2/14/2018 3:01:30 PM by Staff

Last edited 1/24/2023 10:17:41 AM by Laura Nietzer