John Lewis Famous Quotes & Sayings

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60 John Lewis Famous Sayings, Quotes and Quotation.

John Lewis Sayings: The book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, I read it when I was The book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, I read it when I was about 17-and-a-half or 18. It changed my life.
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John Lewis Sayings: Who gets the bird, the hunter or the dog? Who gets the bird, the hunter or the dog?
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John Lewis Sayings: We live in a country where we're supposed to have freedom of the press and We live in a country where we're supposed to have freedom of the press and religious freedom, but I think to some degree, there's a sense of fear in America today, that if you say the wrong thing, what some people will consider what is wrong, if you step out of line, if you dissent, whether you be an entertainer, that somehow and some way this government or the forces to be will come down on you.
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John Lewis Sayings: I would say the country is a different country. It is a better country. The 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.
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John Lewis Sayings: I thought I was going to die a few times. On the Freedom Ride in I thought I was going to die a few times. On the Freedom Ride in the year 1961, when I was beaten at the Greyhound bus station in Montgomery, I thought I was going to die. On March 7th, 1965, when I was hit in the head with a night stick by a State Trooper at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, I thought I was going to die. I thought I saw death, but nothing can make me question the philosophy of nonviolence.
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John Lewis Sayings: Young people can understand, and must understand, that we had success, we had failures, but Young people can understand, and must understand, that we had success, we had failures, but we never gave up. We never gave in. We never became bitter. We didn't hate. We continued to press on. And that's what we're saying: There are some ups, there are some downs, and when you're not down, you must have the capacity and the ability to get up and keep going.
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John Lewis Sayings: If you're not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up. You have to take If you're not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up. You have to take the long hard look and just believe that if you're consistent, you will succeed.
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John Lewis Sayings: When I was a student, I studied philosophy and religion. I talked about being patient. 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.
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John Lewis Sayings: In terms of our elected officials, I think we need to ask...: How far should In terms of our elected officials, I think we need to ask...: How far should we go with our need to know before we completely veer off into the personal and the private and leave behind any chance of having a legitimate debate or discussion or discourse about the issues at hand?
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John Lewis Sayings: Rioting is not a movement. It is not an act of civil disobedience. I think Rioting is not a movement. It is not an act of civil disobedience. I think it is a mistake for people to consider disorganized action, mayhem, and attacks on other people and property as an extension of any kind of movement. It is not. It is simply an explosion of emotion. That's all. There is nothing constructive about it. It is destructive.
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John Lewis Sayings: The events in Prague, together with the Berlin blockade, convinced the European recipients of American The events in Prague, together with the Berlin blockade, convinced the European recipients of American economic assistance that they needed military protection as well: that led them to request the creation of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which committed the United States for the first time ever to the peacetime defense of Western Europe.
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John Lewis Sayings: Races don't fall in love, genders don't fall in love: Individuals fall in love. We Races don't fall in love, genders don't fall in love: Individuals fall in love. We all should be free to marry the person that we love.
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John Lewis Sayings: I always understood the idea of the ultimate redeemer, Christ on the cross. But now I always understood the idea of the ultimate redeemer, Christ on the cross. But now I was beginning to see that this is something that is carried out in every one of us, that the purity of unearned suffering is a holy and affective thing It affects not only ourselves, but it touches and changes those around us as well. It opens us and those around us to a force beyond ourselves, a force that is right and moral, the force of righteous truth that is at the basis of human conscience. Suffering puts us and those around us in touch with our consciences. It opens and touches our hearts. It makes us feel compassion when we need to and guilt if we must.
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John Lewis Sayings: Take a long, hard look down the road you will have to travel once you Take a long, hard look down the road you will have to travel once you have made a commitment to work for change. Know that this transformation will not happen right away. Change often takes time. It rarely happens all at once. In the movement, we didn't know how history would play itself out. When we were getting arrested and waiting in jail or standing in unmovable lines on the courthouse steps, we didn't know what would happen, but we knew it had to happen.

Use the words of the movement to pace yourself. We used to say that ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part. And if we believe in the change we seek, then it is easy to commit to doing all we can, because the responsibility is ours alone to build a better society and a more peaceful world.
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John Lewis Sayings: The civil rights movement was based on faith. Many of us who were participants in 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.
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John Lewis Sayings: Every generation leaves behind a legacy. What that legacy will be is determined by the Every generation leaves behind a legacy. What that legacy will be is determined by the people of that generation. What legacy do you want to leave behind?
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John Lewis Sayings: You cannot give up - you have to be persistent and keep pushing, and press You cannot give up - you have to be persistent and keep pushing, and press on.
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John Lewis Sayings: I say to people today, 'You must be prepared if you believe in something. If 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.'
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John Lewis Sayings: It was not enough to come and listen to a great sermon or message every 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.
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John Lewis Sayings: But you have to have hope. You have to be optimistic in order to continue But you have to have hope. You have to be optimistic in order to continue to move forward.
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John Lewis Sayings: In the past the great majority of minority voters, in Ohio and other places that 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.
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John Lewis Sayings: I think all Americans should be hopeful, and try to be optimistic. I think all Americans should be hopeful, and try to be optimistic.
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John Lewis Sayings: I heard of Martin Luther King Jr. when I was 15 years old. I heard I heard of Martin Luther King Jr. when I was 15 years old. I heard of Rosa Parks. And I met Dr. King in 1958 at the age of 18. I met Rosa Parks ... But to pick up a fun comic book - some people used to call them "funny books" - to pick this little book up, it sold for 10 cents, 12 pages or 14 pages? 14 pages I digested. And it inspired me. And I said to myself, "If the people of Montgomery can do this, maybe I can do something. Maybe I can make a contribution."
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John Lewis Sayings: My mother and father and many of my relatives had been sharecroppers. My mother and father and many of my relatives had been sharecroppers.
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John Lewis Sayings: Love is a better way. Love is a better way.
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John Lewis Sayings: I don't have any extraordinary gifts. I'm just an average Joe who grew up very I don't have any extraordinary gifts. I'm just an average Joe who grew up very poor in rural Alabama.
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John Lewis Sayings: [O]ur revolt was as much against the traditional black leadership structure as it was against [O]ur revolt was as much against the traditional black leadership structure as it was against segregation and discrimination.
John Lewis Sayings: I heard Dr. King speaking on the radio, and it seemed like he was saying, I heard Dr. King speaking on the radio, and it seemed like he was saying, "John Robert Lewis, you too can make a contribution. You can get involved!"
John Lewis Sayings: When growing up, I saw segregation. I saw racial discrimination. I saw those signs that 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 Sayings: Some people know Rosa Parks, they know Daisy Bates in Arkansas, but every ... Ruby Some people know Rosa Parks, they know Daisy Bates in Arkansas, but every ... Ruby Doris Smith, Diane Nash, countless individuals.
John Lewis Sayings: The documented incidences of voter fraud are very rare, yet throughout the country, forces have The documented incidences of voter fraud are very rare, yet throughout the country, forces have mobilized in over 30 states to stop it. These efforts are very partisan.
John Lewis Sayings: If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.
John Lewis Sayings: We have come a long way in America because of Martin Luther King, Jr. He We have come a long way in America because of Martin Luther King, Jr. He led a disciplined, nonviolent revolution under the rule of law, a revolution of values, a revolution of ideas. We've come a long way, but we still have a distance to go before all of our citizens embrace the idea of a truly interracial democracy, what I like to call the Beloved Community, a nation at peace with itself.
John Lewis Sayings: When I speak to students about the Civil Rights Movement, I say that it is When I speak to students about the Civil Rights Movement, I say that it is impossible to stop a determined movement that is captivating the American consciousness. I think the candidacy of Sen. Obama represents the beginning of a new movement in American political history that began in the hearts and minds of the people of this nation. And I want to be on the side of the people, on the side of the spirit of history.
John Lewis Sayings: I was so inspired by Dr. King that in 1956, with some of my brothers 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 Sayings: Now we have black and white elected officials working together. Today, we have gone beyond 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 Sayings: My parents told me in the very beginning as a young child when I raised My parents told me in the very beginning as a young child when I raised the question about segregation and racial discrimination, they told me not to get in the way, not to get in trouble, not to make any noise.
John Lewis Sayings: I believe in nonviolence as a way of life, as a way of living. I believe in nonviolence as a way of life, as a way of living.
John Lewis Sayings: It is my hope that people today will see that, in another time, in another It is my hope that people today will see that, in another time, in another period, when we saw the need for people to speak up, to organize, to mobilize, and to do something about injustice, we came together.
John Lewis Sayings: First time I got arrested, I knew somehow and some way, we would succeed. To First time I got arrested, I knew somehow and some way, we would succeed. To go on the Freedom Ride to be beaten and left bloody and unconscious, to be beaten on that bridge in Selma, have a concussion - I thought that I was going to die on that bridge. But somehow and some way, I lived to tell about what happened, and I've seen some of the fruits of the labor of so many people, and people must understand that.
John Lewis Sayings: Some people think that [it was] Martin Luther King Jr.'s idea to have a boycott. Some people think that [it was] Martin Luther King Jr.'s idea to have a boycott. It was a black woman, a teacher, who said we should boycott the buses. You had people like Fannie Lou Hamer; Delta, Mississippi.
John Lewis Sayings: Suffering, though, can be nothing more than a sad and sorry thing without the presence Suffering, though, can be nothing more than a sad and sorry thing without the presence on the part of the sufferer of a graceful heart, an accepting and open heart, a heart that holds no malice toward the inflictors of his or suffering This is a difficult concept to understand, and it is even more difficult to internalize, but it has everything to do with the way of nonviolence. We are talking about love here....This is a broader, deeper, more all-encompassing love. It is a love that acepts and embraces the hateful and the hurtful. It is a love that recognizes the spark of the divine in each of us, even in those who would raise their hand against us, those we might call our enemy.
John Lewis Sayings: Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. Why? Because human beings are the most dynamic link to the divine on this planet.
John Lewis Sayings: We built a coalition of conscience, and that we can do it again, and we We built a coalition of conscience, and that we can do it again, and we can go forward, and help redeem the soul of America.
John Lewis Sayings: The reward for playing jazz is playing jazz. The reward for playing jazz is playing jazz.
John Lewis Sayings: Even in the civil rights movement, there were so many unbelievable women. They never, ever Even in the civil rights movement, there were so many unbelievable women. They never, ever received the credit that they should have received. They did all of the, and I cannot say it, they did all of the dirty work. Hard work.
John Lewis Sayings: I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that we have an obligation I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that we have an obligation to condemn speech that is racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic, or hateful.
John Lewis Sayings: Ornette Coleman is doing the only really new thing in jazz since the innovations in Ornette Coleman is doing the only really new thing in jazz since the innovations in the mid-forties of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and those of Thelonious Monk
John Lewis Sayings: You have to have the capacity and the ability to take what people did, and You have to have the capacity and the ability to take what people did, and how they did it, and forgive them and move on.
John Lewis Sayings: Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.
John Lewis Sayings: I loved going to the library. It was the first time I ever saw Black I loved going to the library. It was the first time I ever saw Black newspapers and magazines like JET, Ebony, the Baltimore Afro-American, or the Chicago Defender. And I'll never forget my librarian.
John Lewis Sayings: We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us. We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.
John Lewis Sayings: When I was 15 years old and in the tenth grade, I heard of Martin When I was 15 years old and in the tenth grade, I heard of Martin Luther King, Jr. Three years later, when I was 18, I met Dr. King and we became friends. Two years after that I became very involved in the civil rights movement. I was in college at that time. As I got more and more involved, I saw politics as a means of bringing about change.
John Lewis Sayings: You cannot be afraid to speak up and speak out for what you believe. You You cannot be afraid to speak up and speak out for what you believe. You have to have courage, raw courage.
John Lewis Sayings: I have fought too hard and for too long against discrimination based on race and I have fought too hard and for too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I've heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.
John Lewis Sayings: If we must grind up human flesh and bones in the industrial machine that we If we must grind up human flesh and bones in the industrial machine that we call modern America, then, before God, I assert that those who consume the coal and you and I who benefit from that service, because we live in comfort, we owe protection to those men first and we owe security for their families if they die. I say it, I voice it, I proclaim it and I care not who in heaven or hell opposes it.
John Lewis Sayings: To make it hard, to make it difficult almost impossible for people to cast a 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 Sayings: As citizens, we knew we had ceded some of our individual rights to society in As citizens, we knew we had ceded some of our individual rights to society in order to live together as a community. But we did not believe this social contract included support for an immoral system. Since the people invested government with its authority, we understood that we had to obey the law. But when law became suppressive and tyrannical, when human law violated divine principles, we felt it was not only our right, but our duty to disobey. As Henry Thoreau strongly believed, to comply with an unjust system is to accept abuse. It is not the role of the citizen to follow the government down a path that violates his or her own conscience.
John Lewis Sayings: The government, both state and federal, has a duty to be reasonable and accommodating. The government, both state and federal, has a duty to be reasonable and accommodating.
John Lewis Sayings: When people tell me nothing has changed, I say come walk in my shoes and When people tell me nothing has changed, I say come walk in my shoes and I will show you change.