Top 118 John Lewis Quotes of 2020

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Lewis: John Lewis will continue to serve the people of the Fifth Congressional District of Georgia under the supervision of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. he, passed away on July 17, 2020.

John Lewis:  John Lewis: Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters, and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle.  

Congress: He was elected to the Atlanta city council in 1981, then to Congress after 6 years later.

Movement: Lewis was committed to the civil rights movement and went on to participate in the Freedom Rides of 1961.


Civil Rights: Civil Rights Struggle In 1957, Lewis left Alabama to attend the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee but he was arrested during these demonstrations.


Montgomery: Lewis and a few fellow Freedom Rider, James Zwerg, after they were attacked by segregationists in Montgomery, Ala., in May 1961 

John Lewis Quotes

“The scars and stains of racism are still deeply embedded in the American society.”― John Lewis

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“Sometimes I hear people saying, ‘Nothing has changed.’ Come and walk in my shoes.”― John Lewis


“The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have.”― John Lewis


“Never give up. Never give in. Never become hostile… Hate is too big a burden to bear.”― John Lewis


“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.”― John Lewis


“You must be bold, brave, and courageous and find a way… to get in the way.”― John Lewis


“MLK, Jr. taught me how to say no to segregation, and I can hear him saying now… when you straighten up your back, no man can ride you. He said stand up straight and say no to racial discrimination.”― John Lewis


“We must bring the issue of mental illness out into the sunlight, out of the shadow, out of the closet, deal with it, treat people, have centers where people can get the necessary help.”― John Lewis


“Not one of us can rest, be happy, be at home, be at peace with ourselves, until we end hatred and division.”― John Lewis


“What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and its grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible possible.”― John Lewis


“Before we went on any protest, whether it was sit-ins or the freedom rides or any march, we prepared ourselves, and we were disciplined. We were committed to the way of peace – the way of non-violence – the way of love – the way of life as the way of living.”― John Lewis


“We need some creative tension; people crying out for the things they want.”― John Lewis


“The civil rights movement was based on faith. Many of us who were participants in this movement saw our involvement as an extension of our faith. We saw ourselves doing the work of the Almighty. Segregation and racial discrimination were not in keeping with our faith, so we had to do something.”― John Lewis


“When I was a student, I studied philosophy and religion. I talked about being patient. Some people say I was too hopeful, too optimistic, but you have to be optimistic just in keeping with the philosophy of non-violence.”― John Lewis


“In Selma, Alabama, in 1965, only 2.1 percent of blacks of voting age were registered to vote. The only place you could attempt to register was to go down to the courthouse. You had to pass a so-called literacy test. And they would tell people over and over again that they didn’t or couldn’t pass the literacy test.”― John Lewis


“It was not enough to come and listen to a great sermon or message every Sunday morning and be confined to those four walls and those four corners. You had to get out and do something.”― John Lewis


“There are still forces in America that want to divide us along racial lines, religious lines, sex, class. But we’ve come too far; we’ve made too much progress to stop or to pull back. We must go forward. And I believe we will get there.”― John Lewis


“We need someone who is going to stand up, speak up, and speak out for the people who need help, for the people who have been discriminated against.”― John Lewis


“When growing up, I saw segregation. I saw racial discrimination. I saw those signs that said white men, colored men. White women, colored women. White waiting. And I didn’t like it.”― John Lewis


“Black men and women were not allowed to register to vote. My own mother, my own father, my grandfather and my uncles and aunts could not register to vote because each time they attempted to register to vote, they were told they could not pass the literacy test.”― John Lewis


“You have to tell the whole truth, the good and the bad, maybe some things that are uncomfortable for some people.”― John Lewis


“If you ask me whether the election of Barack Obama is the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream, I say, ‘No, it’s just a down payment.’”― John Lewis


“There may be some difficulties, some interruptions, but as a nation and as a people, we are going to build a truly multiracial, democratic society that maybe can emerge as a model for the rest of the world.”― John Lewis

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“We need comprehensive immigration reform. Dr. King wouldn’t be pleased at all to know that there are millions of people living in the shadow, living in fear in places like Georgia and Alabama.”― John Lewis


“I believe that you see something that you want to get done, you cannot give up, and you cannot give in.”― John Lewis


“Without prayer, without faith in the Almighty, the civil rights movement would have been like a bird without wings.”― John Lewis


“Rosa Parks inspired me to find a way to get in the way, to get in trouble… good trouble, necessary trouble.”― John Lewis


“If you’re not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up. You have to take the long hard look and just believe that if you’re consistent, you will succeed.”― John Lewis


“I believe race is too heavy a burden to carry into the 21st century. It’s time to lay it down. We all came here in different ships, but now we’re all in the same boat.”― John Lewis


“I remember back in the 1960s – late ’50s, really – reading a comic book called ‘Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery Story.’ Fourteen pages. It sold for 10 cents. And this little book inspired me to attend non-violence workshops, to study about Gandhi, about Thoreau, to study Martin Luther King, Jr., to study civil disobedience.”― John Lewis


“Sometimes you have to not just dream about what could be – you get out and push and you pull and you preach. And you create a climate and environment to get those in high places, to get men and women of good will in power to act.”― John Lewis


“Too many of us still believe our differences define us.”― John Lewis


“Be hopeful. Be optimistic. Never lose that sense of hope.”― John Lewis


“Some of us gave a little blood for the right to participate in the democratic process.”― John Lewis


“I studied the philosophy and the discipline of non-violence in Nashville as a student. And I staged a sitting-in in the fall of 1959 and got arrested the first time in February 1960.”― John Lewis


“I think my whole life has been one of sort of daring, and sort of sailing against the wind instead of just going with the wind.”― John Lewis


“Who gets the bird, the hunter or the dog?”― John Lewis


“We all live in the same house, we all must be part of the effort to hold down our little house. When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just… do something about it. Say something. Have the courage. Have the backbone. Get in the way. Walk with the wind. It’s all going to work out.”― John Lewis


“Obama is not an African American president, but a president of all Americans. It doesn’t matter if you are black, white, Hispanic, he’s the president of all races.”― John Lewis


“I really believe that all of us, as Americans… we all need to be treated like fellow human beings.”― John Lewis


“When I was growing up in rural Alabama, it was impossible for me to register to vote. I didn’t become a registered voter until I moved to Tennessee, to Nashville, as a student.”― John Lewis


“When you make mistakes, when you’re wrong, you should admit you’re wrong and ask people to forgive you.”― John Lewis


“Now we have black and white elected officials working together. Today, we have gone beyond just passing laws. Now we have to create a sense that we are one community, one family. Really, we are the American family.”― John Lewis


“We are tired of being beaten by policemen. We are tired of seeing our people locked up in jails over and over again. And then you holler, ‘Be patient.’ How long can we be patient?”― John Lewis


“I believe in forgiveness; I believe in trying to work with people.”― John Lewis


“We should be creative, and we should accommodate the needs of every community to open up the democratic process. We should make it easy and accessible for every citizen to participate.”― John Lewis


“Many young people, many children, are being abused, being put down, being bullied because of their sexual orientation.”― John Lewis


“We are one people; we are only family. And when we finally accept these truths, then we will be able to fulfill Dr. King’s dream to build a beloved community, a nation, and a world at peace with itself.”― John Lewis


“My mother and father and many of my relatives had been sharecroppers.”― John Lewis


“My parents told me in the very beginning as a young child when I raised the question about segregation and racial discrimination, they told me not to get in the way, not to get in trouble, not to make any noise.”― John Lewis


“I was so inspired by Dr. King that in 1956, with some of my brothers and sisters and first cousins – I was only 16 years old – we went down to the public library trying to check out some books, and we were told by the librarian that the library was for whites only and not for colors. It was a public library.”― John Lewis

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“When I was 15 years old and in the tenth grade, I heard of Martin Luther King, Jr. Three years later, when I was 18, I met Dr. King and we became friends. Two years after that I became very involved in the civil rights movement. I was in college at that time. As I got more and more involved, I saw politics as a means of bringing about change.”― John Lewis


“If someone had told me in 1963 that one day I would be in Congress, I would have said, ‘You’re crazy. You don’t know what you’re talking about.’”― John Lewis


“I would say the country is a different country. It is a better country. The signs I saw when I was growing up are gone and they will not return. In many ways the walls of segregation have been torn down.”― John Lewis

Quotation of John Lewis
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“The documented incidences of voter fraud are very rare, yet throughout the country, forces have mobilized in over 30 states to stop it. These efforts are very partisan.”― John Lewis


“The government, both state and federal, has a duty to be reasonable and accommodating.”― John Lewis


“In the past the great majority of minority voters, in Ohio and other places that means African American voters, cast a large percentage of their votes during the early voting process.”― John Lewis


“To make it hard, to make it difficult almost impossible for people to cast a vote is not in keeping with the democratic process.”― John Lewis


“I say to people today, ‘You must be prepared if you believe in something. If you believe in something, you have to go for it. As individuals, we may not live to see the end.’”― John Lewis


“I want to see young people in America feel the spirit of the 1960s and find a way to get in the way. To find a way to get in trouble. Good trouble, necessary trouble.”― John Lewis


“I do not agree with what Mr. Snowden did. He has damaged American international relations and compromised our national security. He leaked classified information and may have jeopardized human lives. That must be condemned.”― John Lewis


“I never praised Mr. Snowden or said his actions rise to those of Mohandas Gandhi or other civil rights leaders.”― John Lewis


“Without the Sisters of St. Joseph, I might not be standing here.”― John Lewis


“I’m very hopeful. I am very optimistic about the future.”― John Lewis


“Early on, I wrote a letter to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. I was 17. I felt called, moved.”― John Lewis


“We must continue to go forward as one people, as brothers and sisters.”― John Lewis


“There’s nothing wrong with a little agitation for what’s right or what’s fair.”― John Lewis


“Too many people struggled, suffered, and died to make it possible for every American to exercise their right to vote.”― John Lewis


“Reading the Martin Luther King story, that little comic book, set me on the path that I’m on today.”― John Lewis


“I wanted young people to know that I was just a typical child.”― John Lewis


“Following the teaching of Gandhi and Thoreau, Dr. King, it set me on a path. And I never looked back.”― John Lewis


“The vote controls everything that you do.”― John Lewis


“The vote is precious. It’s almost sacred, so go out and vote like you never voted before.”― John Lewis


“We come to Selma to be renewed. We come to be inspired. We come to be reminded that we must do the work that justice and equality calls us to do.”― John Lewis


“What ‘March’ is saying is that it doesn’t matter whether we are black or white, Latino or Asian. It doesn’t matter whether we are straight or gay.”― John Lewis


“We are one people with one family. We all live in the same house… and through books, through information, we must find a way to say to people that we must lay down the burden of hate. For hate is too heavy a burden to bear.”― John Lewis


“It’s a shame and a disgrace that so few people take part in the political process.”― John Lewis


“I couldn’t say no to A. Philip Randolph and no to Martin Luther King, Jr. These two men, I loved them, I admired them, and they were my heroes.”― John Lewis


“We’re one people, and we all live in the same house. Not the American house, but the world house.”― John Lewis


“Never become bitter, and in the process, be happy and just go for it.”― John Lewis


“You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right.”― John Lewis


“I always felt growing up that in the South there was evil but also good – so much good.”― John Lewis


“I am very, very hopeful about the American South – I believe that we will lead America to what Dr. King called ‘the beloved community.’”― John Lewis


“I travel all the time, but when I come back to the South, I see such progress. In a real sense, a great deal of the South has been redeemed. People feel freer, more complete, more whole, because of what happened in the movement.”― John Lewis


“People come up to me in airports, they walk into the office, and they say, ‘I’m going to cry; I’m going to pass out.’ And I say, ‘Please don’t pass out; I’m not a doctor.’”― John Lewis

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“I grew up very poor in rural Alabama.”― John Lewis


“When I was 15 years old in 1955, I heard of Rosa Parks. I heard the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. on our radio.”― John Lewis


“The action of Rosa Parks, the words and leadership of Dr. King inspired me. I was deeply inspired. I wanted to do something.”― John Lewis


“You have to be optimistic in order to continue to move forward.”― John Lewis


“In 1965, the attempted march from Selma to Montgomery on March 7 was planned to dramatize to the state of Alabama and to the nation that people of color wanted to register to vote.”― John Lewis


“A few days after Bloody Sunday, there was demonstration in more than 80 American cities. People were demanding that the government act.”― John Lewis


“I was honored to have an opportunity to speak on August 28th, 1963.”― John Lewis


“I think Dr. King would be pleased to see the number of elected officials of color – African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and progressive whites.”― John Lewis


“The March on Washington was a March for Jobs and Freedom. There are still too many people who are unemployed or underemployed in America – they’re black, white, Latino, Native American and Asian American.”― John Lewis


“It’s not just Barack Obama, but I doubt Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton would have made it to the White House without Selma.”― John Lewis


“Without our faith, we wouldn’t have been able to succeed. On many occasions, before we’d go out on a sit-in, before we went on the freedom ride, before we marched from Selma to Montgomery, we would sing a song or say a prayer. Without our faith, without the spirit and spiritual bearings and underpinning, we would not have been so successful.”― John Lewis


“I grew up in rural Alabama, 50 miles from Montgomery, in a very loving, wonderful family: wonderful mother, wonderful father. We attended church; we went to Sunday school every Sunday.”― John Lewis


“We need someone who will stand up and speak up and speak out for the people who need help, for people who are being discriminated against. And it doesn’t matter whether they are black or white, Latino, Asian or Native American, whether they are straight or gay, Muslim, Christian, or Jews.”― John Lewis


“We had teachers, we had high school principals, we had people teaching in colleges and university in Tuskegee, Alabama. But they were told they failed the so-called literacy test.”― John Lewis


“The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. made me very, very sad, and I mourned and I cried like many of our citizens did.”― John Lewis


“You have to be persistent.”― John Lewis


“The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater.”― John Lewis


“I don’t think Trump really believes in all this stuff. But he thinks this would be his ticket to the White House – at least to get the Republican nomination.”― John Lewis


“You have to go with your gut sometimes, and how you feel.”― John Lewis


“Listening to Dr. King on the radio inspired me. Coming under the influence of Jim Lawson inspired me to think that I, too, could do something.”― John Lewis


“Comics, in a sense, the style, the images – it’s almost like music. They say music is a universal language, but when the eyes behold something, a figure, somebody moving; it’s real, and it cannot be denied.”― John Lewis


“I don’t understand it, how President Johnson can send troops to Vietnam and cannot send troops to Selma, Alabama, to protect people whose only desire is to register to vote.”― John Lewis


“If it hadn’t been for that march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, there would be no Barack Obama as President of the United States of America.”― John Lewis


“Selma was the turning point.”― John Lewis


“Sometimes I feel like crying, tears of happiness, tears of joy, to see the distance we’ve come and the progress we’ve made.”― John Lewis


“Dr. King was one of the most inspiring human beings I ever met. He was such a warm, compassionate, and loving human being.”― John Lewis


“There is a need for a movement of non-violent direct action.”― John Lewis


“1963, because of the sense of moral authority that the civil rights movement had, we were able to get people to respond, because of the quality of our demand and our sense of moral authority.”― John Lewis


“Customs, traditions, laws should be flexible, within good reason, if that is what it takes to make our democracy work.”― John Lewis


“The press is supposed to serve as a check on government.”― John Lewis


“I think President Barack Obama has been a good president.”― John Lewis


“I have met every president since President Kennedy. And I think Barack Obama must be listed as one of the best. This young man has been so inspiring – not just to people in America but to people all around the world.”― John Lewis


“Selma helped make it possible for hundreds and thousands of people in the South to become registered voters and encouraged people all across America to become participants in a democratic process.”― John Lewis

John Lewis Sayings
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