Posts tagged ‘John Lewis’

August 28, 2011

The Race Card Equals Sand in the Gears of Discourse

by thefulllidvmg

I like John Lewis. A lot. His memoir was amazing. If you don’t know anything about him, he was part of the beginnings of the lunch sit-ins, the marches from Selma to Montgomery (Alabama), and worked on plethora of other civil rights causes with Martin Luther King Jr., Bobby Kennedy, and so on.

Unfortunately, Lewis wrote an op-ed piece in the NY Times accusing new voting right laws that require unexpired identification to be shown at voting centers as racist and unfairly targeting minorities (whom vote for him and his Democratic base). His logic is quite weak. Anyone can go and get updated I.D.’s from your local DMV, right?

Doug Mataconis chimes in.

February 11, 2011

Egyptians Inspired By MLKjr

by thefulllidvmg

I hope that those who started the civil rights movement (King, John Lewis, etc) on a foundation of nonviolent opposition appreciate that their contributions have not been forgotten. Andy Khouri explains how various Egyptian protesters have been influenced by Montgomery Bus boycot comics translated into Arabic:

While we can’t accurately quantify The Montgomery Story’s real influence on the protesters in Egypt or elsewhere, it’s certainly cool that a comic book starring one of America’s greatest real-life heroes has inspired even one person to take to the streets in the way we’ve seen over the last several weeks. That an organization as big and forward-thinking as the American Islamic Congress thought to deploy this work – whose actual creators remain unknown – says quite a lot, indeed, and their actions remind us of the potential power and inherent strengths (portability being perhaps the helpful important, in this case) of our beloved medium of comics.

(thanks M.B.)

December 11, 2010

Book Review: Walking with the Wind by John Lewis

by thefulllidvmg

John Lewis’s memoir Walking with the Wind was a delightful read. After finishing Shame of the Nation, I needed either a break from reading for a week or a lighter read. I heard about Lewis’s memoir within Shame of the Nation as Kozol interviewed him. Little did I know that Lewis’s book was the perfect book for me to grab a hold of.

Walking with the Wind is a long read (503 pages) but is simple and accessible in its wording and approach. The story starts with Lewis’s upbringing in the rural Alabama town of Troy. Lewis grew up and attended college in Nashville where he became active in nonviolent protests. His belief in nonviolence for the attainment of the Beloved (not hateful, not violent, not uncaring, not unkind) Community (not separated, not polarized, not adversarial) was central to him then as it is now as he serves as Congressman for the 5th U.S. Congressional district of Georgia. His stances have often brought on the labels of “anti-black” or “soft” because of his integrated and nonviolent approach to democracy.

Lewis documents his first hand participation in the Nashville sit-ins, strikes, marches in Selma and Montgomery, and his work thereafter. He didn’t watch this stuff on TV, read it in the paper, or hear it on the radio: he was there. As he and hundreds of others attempted their first march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama (a 56 mile walk, by the way), he was clubbed in the head and landed a fractured skull. He marched with Martin Luther King Jr, Baynard Rustin, Ralph Abernathy, A. Phillip Randolph, and tens of thousands of nameless men, women, and children all for the sake of equal voting rights, equal usage of facilities (Boynton v. Virginia), and for the ultimate end of racism in the South. He worked for Jimmy Carter’s administration, helped Bobby Kennedy campaign, was called to private and group meetings lead by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and is the only House Rep today to of been arrested over 40 times.

What I enjoy about John Lewis’s character is that he holds no punches yet he isn’t judgmental. His book is not a polemic against likely enemies such as Newt Gingrich, George Wallace, plethora of racist southern elected officials, et al. He does call out those for being slow to act, for not upholding laws, and for what he sees as right and wrong. Ultimately, Lewis sees everyone through the eye of a key nonviolence movement tenet: everyone will have to deal with the decisions they make. Their conscience will bear that and he has no room to step in between anyone and their decisions. Much of his book comes off as him reporting the times, not opining every bit of it.

I felt that Lewis’s book dragged for the last 120 pages after the last of the marches ended and MLK / Bobby Kennedy’s assassinations. Walking with the Wind is well worth the read for anyone interested or intrigued by justice, compassion, nonviolence, and the piece they all hold in this puzzle known as America.

December 2, 2010

Opening Thoughts on Walking With The Wind

by thefulllidvmg

I had a super easy day of teaching today. With that, I was therefore able to finish off the new Atlantic issue and get about 62 pages in to John Lewis’s memoir. Lewis’s memoir is so refreshing. It may be a 500 page book, but it is much lighter than the Jonathan Kozol books I have been finishing off. I don’t need a dictionary by my side as I join him recounting his time raising chickens or growing uncomfortable with Southern ‘separate but equal’ school and society. The font is small but still, the pages go by and I enjoy slowing down and not having to think in a critical manner sentence by sentence. After saying that, I don’t mean that I am falling asleep to his work nor do I mean that his civil rights path is dull/lacking meaning. I mean that his book is accessible, enjoyable to read, and so far a breeze for me. I didn’t preview his book before I picked it up from the library so this all comes as a surprise (much needed) to me.

November 24, 2010

Deflecting Racism with Racism

by thefulllidvmg

Weigel points out her poorly crafted smear of the Obama’s while defending the Tea Party of not being slightly racist:

Like a lot of conservative pundits, her Exhibit A is the inability for Congressmen John Lewis and Andre Carson to prove that they were actually subjected to racial slurs during the health care vote.

Despite the fact that everyone walks around these days with a cell phone capable of capturing video, evidence to support the charge has never emerged. In the weeks and months after the alleged incident, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart even offered huge cash rewards to anyone who could produce proof that the health care protestors had shouted racial slurs. No proof ever emerged.

This quickly wends into Palin’s much-excerpted rant about how Barack and Michelle Obama believe America is racist because “both of them spent almost two decades in the pews of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church listening to his rants against America and white people.” The irony: There was a search during the 2008 campaign for video proof that the Obamas had been in the pews during the most offensive Wright sermons, but everyone came up dry, leading many people to conclude that, rather than being inculcated, Obama simply didn’t go to church that much.

The Tea Party has acknowledged this happening but the original video doesn’t seem convincing. On a side note, I am excited to read in the upcoming year John Lewis’s memoir.

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