More hard-won wisdom from the late congressman, civil rights icon, and co-author of the indispensable March series.
In this collection of short observations on topics ranging from courage to patience to sports, Lewis (1940-2020) lays bare the vision and stratagems that sustained him through his lifelong, often brutal struggle for Black liberty. The author will long be remembered as a champion for Black equality as well as common decency and peace. One of the standout advocates of nonviolent political action, Lewis sought out “good trouble, necessary trouble”—such as that displayed by Rosa Parks, who “knew in her heart [that she] was right”—when the forces arrayed against Black civil rights bared their teeth. At the same time, he writes, “destruction doesn’t work. Rioting isn’t a movement. We must be constructive and not destructive. Chaos is sowing more division and discord.” Violence, writes the author, only serves to drown out injustice, surrendering the higher moral ground. As he demonstrates throughout, Lewis was a force for compassion, empathy, dignity, and self-worth, constantly pursuing justice reform, speaking out in the face of fear, and moving forward in the faith that good can come from principled, collective action. Lewis expresses himself with clarity, authenticity, and humility, all of which can be applied in nearly every arena, including health care (“a human right”), voting (“VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE. Write that in capital letters in your notes. All over the page. Remember the time when the right to vote was denied us? I do”), the environment (“We have a moral obligation to do what we can to preserve and save this little piece of real estate”), and immigration (“Welcome home. America wants and needs you”). The author’s courage and conviction are crystal clear, and it’s also evident that he never feared death because he knew that his life had purpose.
A bright, morally unwavering worldview from an exemplary human being.