Late John Robert Lewis (February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020) was an American Statesman & Civil Rights leader who served in the US House of Representatives since 1987. Lewis is one of the most influential people to play an instrumental role in the Civil Rights Movement, which ended the Legalized Racial Segregation in the US. Here are our favorite John Lewis quotes that urge us to take the right stand, be just, and have the courage to make the world a better place.

John Lewis short quotes on determination & rights

“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’s quote on political change in Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change
Text & Image Source: CNN Politics

Lewis, right, and fellow student demonstrator James Bevel stand inside the door of a Nashville, Tennessee, restaurant during a sit-in protest in 1960. The manager turned on a fumigating machine to disrupt the sit-in. Jack Corn/The Tennessean/USA Today Network

“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”

— Lewis speaking atop the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 1, 2020
Text & Image Source: CNN Politics

This police mug shot of Lewis was taken in Jackson, Mississippi, after he used a restroom reserved for White people during the Freedom Ride movement.Kypros/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

“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 Quote from Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement
Text & Image Source: CNN Politics

US President John F. Kennedy, fourth from right, meets with Lewis and other civil rights leaders after the 1963 March on Washington. Lewis is in the center, next to Martin Luther King Jr. Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty Images

“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.”

— Lewis on seeking truth, justice, and equality, during the impeachment trial for US President Donald Trump.
Text & Image Source: CNN Politics

President Barack Obama awards Lewis the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. “All these years later, (Lewis) is known as the Conscience of the United States Congress, still speaking his mind on issues of justice and equality,” Obama said. “And generations from now, when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind — an American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time; whose life is a lesson in the fierce urgency of now.” Brooks Kraft/Corbis/Getty Images

John Lewis quotes on change, struggle & freedom

“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.”

— John Lewis’s quote on protesting in Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change
Text & Image Source: CNN Politics

Lewis, as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, reads a document in a New York office in 1964. The document was “We Shall Overcome; the Authorized Record of the March on Washington Produced by the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership.”Robert Elfstrom/Villon Films/Getty Images

“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.”

― Lewis on movement building in Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America
Text & Image Source: CNN Politics

Lewis was born in Troy, Alabama, in 1940. His father, Eddie, was a sharecropper. Associated Press

“Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.”

– Lewis on what he learned from movement building in Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America
Text & Image Source: CNN Politics

Lewis walks with Martin Luther King Jr. and others during another Selma to Montgomery march later in the month. From the left are Ralph David Abernathy, James Forman, King, the Rev. Jesse Douglas, and Lewis. Steve Schapiro/Corbis via Getty Images

Text & Image Source: CNN Politics

Lewis joins President Obama and his family on a march toward Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge on the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.”Doug Mills/The New York Times/Redux

“A democracy cannot thrive where power remains unchecked and justice is reserved for a select few. Ignoring these cries and failing to respond to this movement is simply not an option — for peace cannot exist where justice is not served.”

— Lewis on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Related: 30 Inspiring Quotes & Affirmations On Self Love

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