Skip to Content

Honoring Congressman John Lewis: The Legacy of a Civil Rights Icon

The Early Life of a Legend

In Troy, Alabama, the late Congressman John Lewis, fondly remembered as the conscience of Congress and an advocate for “good trouble,” grew up on a farm among nine siblings. From a young age, amidst the crops of corn and cotton, Lewis harbored aspirations that stretched far beyond the agricultural life destined for him. His persistent questioning of societal norms, often summarized in his recurrent inquiry, “Why?”, set the stage for a lifetime of courageous activism.

From Good Trouble to National Impact

Throughout his lifetime, Lewis was arrested over 40 times, demonstrating his commitment to civil rights from his days as a Freedom Rider to his leadership in the pivotal 1965 Selma march. Despite initial rejections from institutions like Troy University due to racial barriers, his name now graces their largest building—a tribute to his profound impact. Lewis’s legacy continues to inspire not only in educational circles but in every stride toward justice and equality he championed.

A Legacy That Transcends Generations

The voice and deeds of John Lewis continue to echo through the generations, particularly in his home state and among his siblings who reflect on what his reactions might be to today’s social and racial challenges. His sister Ethel Tyner views him as a timeless figure whose spirit still drives the quest for justice today. Lewis’s life journey from a simple farm in Alabama to the halls of Congress leaves an indelible mark on history, reminding us of the power of steadfast dedication to societal transformation.

These reflections serve not only to commemorate his remarkable life but to ignite ongoing dialogue and action toward the causes he held dear, ensuring his mission for justice and equality continues to resonate and inspire actions across communities and generations.