Segments in this Video

Interview with Congressman John Lewis (00:53)


In 2007, John Lewis, recipient of the Robert J. Dole Leadership Prize from the University of Kansas, grants an in-depth interview before a live audience. Jonathan Earle is the interviewer.

Family History of John Lewis (01:18)

John Lewis shares information about his childhood.

Segregation and Racial Discrimination (01:08)

As a child in Alabama, John Lewis observes segregation and racial discrimination. He learns a lot by eavesdropping on people visiting his parents. He notices signs for white and black people posted on stores and restaurants.

Childhood Influences: Rosa Parks and Dr. King (01:02)

John Lewis was deeply influenced by Rosa Parks and Dr. King. Told as a child to stay out of other people's business, he continues to ask about racial discrimination and segregation.

"Shotgun" House vs. a Storm (01:05)

John Lewis begins a story about a storm that hit when he was visiting his aunt who lived in a "shotgun" house. The house was thin-walled with a tin roof and no foundation.

Lessons Learned from a Storm (01:23)

Trapped in a ramshackle house where children tried to hold down the house to keep it from blowing away in a storm, John Lewis learns life lessons that influenced his attitudes about the Civil Rights Movement.

John Lewis and History (00:59)

John Lewis explains why he became a politician instead of a preacher. Lewis talks abut "the spirit of history."

Childhood Story (01:12)

As a child, John Lewis gathered up the family's chickens so that he could preach to them. This is how is practiced what he thought would be his profession.

John Lewis: Ministry (00:56)

Because John Lewis had wanted to become a minister, he feels that the Civil Rights Movement gave him the opportunity to minister to people in a different way.

Power of Congress (01:18)

As a young man, John Lewis and Dr. King visit Congressional sessions. It was there that he saw the power that someone is Congress had to make changes. Lewis felt called to politics after the two Kennedy assassinations.

College Entrance: Racial Discrimination (01:03)

John Lewis applies to a local college for admittance after high school. The college never responds. Lewis writes a letter to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and asks for his help.

John Lewis: College in Nashville (01:04)

Dr. King sends John Lewis a round-trip ticked to Nashville. Lewis uses a $100-gift to enroll in a Nashville college. Dr. King invites the young Lewis to visit with him.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Meets John Lewis (00:60)

At age 18, with the help of Dr. King, John Lewis meets Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For Lewis, it was a life-changing experience.

John Lewis: The Way of Non-Violence (00:44)

John Lewis continues to study in Nashville because his parents fear for their safety if he attends a local college. In Nashville, Lewis attends King's non-violent workshops.

Protest Movement: The Sit-In (01:05)

In the 1960s, John Lewis was instrumental in the sit-in movement. This movement was a significant gateway into the Civil Rights Movement.

Thoreau's Influence on Sit-In Movement (01:05)

John Lewis outlines the sit-in movement's rules. The movement's foundations could be found in the words of Dr. King and Henry David Thoreau.

Non-Violent Protests (01:14)

After the first mass arrest of sit-in participants, each member showed their copy of the dos and don'ts of the movement. This little booklet was published in the local newspaper.

John Lewis: First Arrest (00:46)

John Lewis speaks with pride about his first arrest as a young man in non-violent sit-ins.

Civil Rights Speakers (01:05)

In August 1963, ten Civil Rights leaders deliver speeches. Both John Lewis and Dr. King are among the speakers.

1963 March on Washington (01:07)

The march to Washington in 1963 was more than a show of support for a specific piece of legislation. It was a march for jobs and freedom.

John Lewis: Speech in Washington (01:34)

John Lewis quotes from his speech during the March on Washington. People objected to his use of the word "revolution."

Inflammatory Rhetoric (01:19)

Dr. King and other Civil Rights leaders encourage John Lewis to tone down his rhetoric so that the message of non-violence comes through. John Lewis reflects on the August 13, 1963 speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

John Lewis Under Attack (01:09)

In 1965, John Lewis and 600 others walk in pairs, peacefully and in an orderly fashion across a bridge over the Alabama River.

Alabama Troopers Threaten Non-Violent Marchers (01:02)

John Lewis describes a non-violent walk across a bridge over the Alabama River. As they walk forward, Alabama state troopers order them to clear the bridge in three minutes.

Alabama Troopers Attack (01:08)

After Alabama state troopers warn a group of non-violent marchers to leave a bridge in three minutes, the troopers advance on the group in one minute. They use sticks, whips, and tear gas on the crowd of innocents.

John Lewis Injured (01:09)

With his skull fractured, John Lewis makes it back into Selma and to the small church where the protest started. He is taken to a "blacks-only" hospital where Dr. King and Rev. Abernathy visit him.

President Johnson and John Lewis (01:01)

Black Sunday becomes a galvanizing event. Days after the Alabama troopers attack innocent people, protests took place in 80 American cities. Pres. Johnson was disturbed by the events and spoke to John Lewis.

President Johnson: Voter's Rights Act (01:06)

Pres. Johnson makes a moving speech on March 15, 1963, in which he addresses the nation about the inequities and injustices of segregation and racial discrimination. He supports the Voter's Rights Act.

Democracy and Integration (01:23)

John Lewis, sometimes called the "last integrationist," says that it is time to "lay down the burden of race." It is essential to democracy to create a truly integrated society.

John Lewis and Robert F. Kennedy (01:33)

John Lewis and Robert F. Kennedy form a friendship based on their mutual interests in eradicating racial discrimination. Lewis supports Kennedy's bid for the presidency.

News of Dr. King's Assassination (01:27)

John Lewis is in Indianapolis to form a mass rally when he hears that Dr. King had been shot. Robert F. Kennedy gives a speech from his heart to rally attendants.

Robert Kennedy: Man of Power (01:05)

On April 4, 1968, Robert Kennedy demonstrated that he could tame a crowd. Lewis believes that Kennedy probably would have been elected President, and that the world would be a better place if he had.

Death of Robert F. Kennedy (01:05)

On May 15, 1968, Robert Kennedy invites John Lewis and others to speak at the Ambassador Hotel. Lewis and others see the assassination on television.

America Reels from Assassinations (00:48)

John Lewis believes that after the deaths of JFK, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., something died in America. He, like others, is not sure if America will ever recover.

Endorsement of Hillary Clinton (01:38)

John Lewis discusses why he cast his support behind Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Politics and Race (01:08)

John Lewis believes that politics should transcend issues of race. Lewis is impressed with the 2008 roster of Presidential candidates.

Equal Rights: Is America Backsliding? (01:31)

Lewis notes that many young people are victimized by the criminal justice system. Americans must continue to fight for the changes they want to see.

Americans Can Make a Difference (01:29)

While it would be effective for the President to call upon Americans to sacrifice something or to become actively involved in issues. Lewis cautions that people ought to do it without being "called" to make a difference.

American Dream: Unfulfilled (01:19)

Is the American Dream alive today? John Lewis discusses the Dream and the reality of homelessness and poverty.

John Lewis on Health Care (01:10)

Lewis believes that health care is a right and not a privilege. The quality of health care should not be judged by anything other than need.

Civil Rights Era Murders (01:19)

John Lewis addresses the importance of opening up old murder cases from the Civil Rights era.

Death of Three Civil Rights Workers (01:59)

On June 21, 1964, three black Civil Rights workers were turned over to the Klan by the sheriff. The men were shot and killed by the Klan.

America's Standing in the World (01:18)

The job of the American President is to reveal the moral authority of America in the world.

American Ideas (01:16)

The rest of the world cares less about America's bombs and guns than it does about America's ideas and what America stands for.

America On the Move (00:42)

America's young people should travel to other parts of the world to gain an international understanding of right and privileges.

Civil Rights Era Protests (01:10)

In the Civil Rights era, people stood up and let their voices be heard. John Lewis compares attitudes today with those of the Civil Rights era.

How John Lewis Thinks (01:31)

In his daily work in the U.S. Congress, John Lewis often stops and asks himself, "What would Dr. King say about this?" "What would Gandhi say?"

Vote: Powerful Democratic Tool (01:13)

Sometimes there must be a way to dramatize issues to make people pay attention to them. Lewis asserts that power is in the vote.

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Minds that Matter: John Lewis

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No one grasps the connections between social activism, electoral politics, and racial issues better than Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), perhaps the most prominent living veteran of the American civil rights movement. In 2007, he received the Robert J. Dole Leadership Prize from the University of Kansas and, in conjunction with the award, granted this in-depth interview before a live audience. Rep. Lewis discusses an epic range of topics, including his childhood in segregated Alabama; his first meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; the backstage dilemma over his speech at the finale of the March on Washington; his role in the attempted march from Selma to Montgomery; the ongoing need for social activism today; and more. (58 minutes)

Length: 59 minutes

Item#: BVL40683

ISBN: 978-1-61616-208-5

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.