Remembering Congressman John Lewis

UofL’s Muhammad Ali Institute mourns the passing of Representative John Lewis whose life was dedicated to advancing civil rights and human rights. He is a role model to all who advocate for justice. His recent visit to the Black Lives Matter plaza in Washington D.C. shows his unwavering commitment to equality in this nation and the action needed to make this happen – getting into “good trouble.”  On June 7, 2020, when Congressman Lewis went to the BLM Plaza, he remarked:

“It was very moving to see hundreds of thousands of people from all over America and around the world take to the streets to speak up, to speak out, to get into what I call ‘good trouble,’ or to get in the way. . . And because of the action of young and old, black, white, Latino, Asian-American and Native Americans ... because people cried and prayed, people would never forget what happened, and how it happened" Aris Folley, John Lewis visits 'Black Lives Matter Plaza,' calls protests 'very moving' (06/07/20) at

Congressman Lewis understood the power of people committed to equality and anti-racism.  One of his most enduring quotes – about getting into “good trouble” – reminds us of our power to create change.  As he said when he heard Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak:

“I knew then that I could strike a blow against segregation and racial discrimination, and I decided to get in trouble.  I decided to get in the way.  But it was good trouble, necessary trouble.  Democracy is not a state.  It is an act.”


Professor Enid Trucios-Haynes (Law), Director of UofL’s Muhammad Ali Institute, was honored to interview Representative John Lewis in 2013 at the University of Louisville before a large group of college students and other from the University.  Congressman Lewis’s visit to the University of Louisville was part of the Kentucky Author Forum interview about his trilogy graphic novel book March. He was interviewed that evening by Rachel Maddow at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.