John Lewis Quotes

“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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

“What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and it’s 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 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

 

 

 

 

“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
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of wise native American quotes on community, respect, and more.

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

“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

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

“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

 

 

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

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

“Too many of us still believe our differences define us.” – 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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

“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 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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

“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

 

 

“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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

 

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