Rep. John Lewis, 1940-2020

Originally published at:


2020 just keeps kicking us when we’re down. This proud social justice warrior was exactly the kind of leader we needed at this moment. Lewis had the gift of being able to counterbalance 100 greedy, power-hungry Republicans all by himself, powered by simple and honest dignity, by the gravitas of his history, and by a willingness to be a proud activist. Fortunately, he’s an inspiration to many who will take up his mantle and continue his work.


Why did I think he passed away earlier this year? I am having Deja vu… maybe it was from when he was announced with stage IV pancreatic cancer… :frowning:

He was a great leader and a champion for civil rights. May others learn from his experiences and take up the torch.


Twitler strangely silent…


Maybe you were thinking of Elijah Cummings?


I can’t improve on the statement above by @gracchus . But I will only add that I feel privileged to have lived to see this good man carry on his life’s work with grace and honesty. When I get depressed over the cynicism and back biting and sheer hypocrisy of many elected figures, I remind myself that John Lewis lived through much more than I have, and he kept his good heart through it all.


Im not sure if its a blessing or a curse for a man who has done the good he has to die of all times now.

On one hand, he got to help elect the first Black president of the United States after all he saw and fought for- the ultimate satisfaction and symbol of hope, even if the man wasn’t perfect.

But then to see America’s answer to that is everything he fought against in so many Trump supporters who openly embrace violent bigotry, have killed protestors against white supremacists, and a national protest with unmarked vans abducting BLM protesters and teargassing nonviolent protesters so Trump could use the Bible in such a profane manner compared to Dr. King.

This presidency will forever live in infamy, I will see to that, but I can’t imagine what Lewis did to frame all this in his head. The mental gymnastics must have earned him an Olympic medal.

I hope there actually is a place beyond this where truly good people like him gain peace and rest. He deserves it.


John Lewis was built to last. I thought he"d survive his cancer, but ttey said it was a vicious form, and besides, he was getting on in years.

He’s in the history books about nonviolence, but it was only the day before Obama’s innauguration that I heard him, on “Fresh Air” on NPR. He had a quiet voice, not the speechmakers that we come to associate with the civil rights movement. The really neat thing is he never stopped believing n nonviolence, even though he was long an elected official. He didn’t say civil disobedience was bad, just make sure it was nonviolent.

If I remember, he contacted Martin Luther King when he was 15. He was there at the lunch counters when the sit-ins began in Feb of 1960, and helped form SNCC, then the Freedom Ride in May of 1961, the small form before Diane Nash decided they had to keep going. I think he helped organize Freedom Summer n 1964, he was definitely part of the SNCC leadership that summer, and of course badly beaten again on the March to Selma.

He did a comic book, wait “graphic novel”, about that march, and when he presented it at Comic-Con, he dressed as a superhero, a raincoat and knapsack like in Selma. He had powers most of us can’t magine.

Bernice King has already twittered about him, likely more stuff coming.

Today is a day to cry, and to feel bad that I never got around to writing him to thank him for what he did, he helped change the world. I was born into the world he was changing, only a few months before the original lunch counter sit-ins.

I still keep a photo of my Freedom Now! button on my webpage.


I learned a new word. Griot is an African storyteller, originated from 13th century Mali peoples. They keep the tales of local history and genealogy passed down orally.


I’ve heard the word, but yes, now I know why the “local” NPR station has a New Year’s Eve Griot each year.


Our world is a better place thanks to his work. He’ll leave a huge hole in our city. There isn’t anyone who can replace that man.




Made the first of these a few months back, the second today. Use freely.


i don’t have the link handy, but the video of him crying as he received the National Book Award is really something. he was turned away from getting a library card when he was a kid because “books were for white people only.”


I saw him cry, I can’t remember why but it was via tv. It actually made him stringer, not

But people are posting elsewhere about instances of him having fun. Not the image we have of aging politicians.

That reminds me. Nonviolence gives power to people. Instead of someone saying “follow me”, someone does something and others can say “hey, I can do that too”.


Here is the local public radio station on his passing:

And here is the story of him cosplaying as himself at comic-con when he was promoting his graphic novel March, which I recommend you all read:

I would sometimes see him in the starbucks that was in the building where his ATL office was sometimes. Just… getting coffee.


I’m really sad today over this. He’s been sick for awhile, but this really hurts.


He was my Congressman and an incredibly nice and humble guy. I needed his help once on a visa for my wife. I approached him out of the blue at a folk art show and said: “I was going to call your office tomorrow.” He said: “Well what’s going on? Tell me about it!” I explained the situation and he instructed me to call his assistant on Monday. I did and within two weeks everything was resolved. Not nearly all representatives are so responsive.