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In 'His Truth Is Marching On,' Jon Meacham considers John Lewis’ Christian faith, legacy

In 'His Truth Is Marching On,' Jon Meacham considers John Lewis’ Christian faith, legacy

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus wait to enter as a group to attend the memorial services of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., at the U.S. Capitol October 24, 2019, in Washington, D.C. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais-Pool/Getty Images

Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham explores the relationship between Christian faith and peaceful protest in his inspiring biography of one of the icons of the Civil Rights Movement: His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope.

John Lewis, who stuttered as a child, lacked the eloquence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but his courage was unmatched.

“One test of a saint, closely tied to the test of a martyr, is the willingness to suffer and die for others,” Meacham writes. “Which Lewis was willing to do — again and again and again.” 

In fact, he was arrested 45 times.

Lewis suffered a fractured skull when a state trooper hit him with a billy club while he helped lead a march for voting rights across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Fifty-eight of the marchers were treated for injuries.

Five months after “Bloody Sunday,” President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law.

Lewis later served seventeen terms as a congressman from Georgia before his death due to cancer in July 2020 at the age of 80.

“I have long believed — I have long preached — that our nation’s moral compass comes from God, it is of God, and it is seen through God,” he wrote in the book’s afterword. “And God so loved the world that he gave us the countless men and women who lost their homes and their jobs for the right to vote.”

Originally published at the Denison Forum 

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