His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

October 30, 2020
His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

An intimate and revealing portrait of civil rights icon andlongtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to thepainful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to thepresent—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Soul ofAmericaJohn Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama,and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, was a visionary and aman of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews withLewis, Jon Meacham writes of how this great-grandson of a slave andson of an Alabama tenant farmer was inspired by the Bible and histeachers in nonviolence, Reverend James Lawson and Martin LutherKing, Jr., to put his life on the line in the service of whatAbraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” From anearly age, Lewis learned that nonviolence was not only a tactic buta philosophy, a biblical imperative, and a transforming reality. Atthe age of four, Lewis, ambitious to become a minister, practicedby preaching to his family’s chickens. When his mother cooked oneof the chickens, the boy refused to eat it—his first act, he wrylyrecalled, of nonviolent protest. Integral to Lewis’s commitment tobettering the nation was his faith in humanity and in God—and anunshakable belief in the power of hope.Meacham calls Lewis “as important to the founding of a modernand multiethnic twentieth- and twenty-first-century America asThomas Jefferson and James Madison and Samuel Adams were to theinitial creation of the Republic itself in the eighteenth century.”A believer in the injunction that one should love one's neighbor asoneself, Lewis was arguably a saint in our time, risking limb andlife to bear witness for the powerless in the face of the powerful.In many ways he brought a still-evolving nation closer to realizingits ideals, and his story offers inspiration and illumination forAmericans today who are working for social and politicalchange.