“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”
— John Lewis (1940-2020)
We at Mixed-Up Files join citizens around the world in mourning the loss of civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), who died on July 17, 2020 at the age of 80. He leaves behind a legacy that has inspired — and will continue to inspire — Americans and people around the world.
If you would like to teach the children in your life more about this inspiring American and his role in the civil rights movement and his long career as a politician serving the people of Georgia, here are some ways to do that:
March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Illustrator)
This powerful, three-book, graphic autobiography written by Lewis (and Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell) is Lewis’ first-hand account of his fight for civil and human rights and the American civil rights movement he was a part of.
John Lewis: Good Trouble directed by Dawn Porter (watch at home)
This documentary weaves together interviews with John Lewis, his family, friends, and colleagues, and archival footage to paint a picture of Lewis’ life, his fight for social justice, and his long career as a U.S. representative.
Here, middle grade readers can learn about the childhoods of John Lewis and James Zwerg and the story of the Freedom Riders, civil rights activists who rode buses throughout the South in 1961 to test a Supreme Court decision that declared segregated facilities for interstate passengers illegal.
John Lewis in the Lead: A Story of the Civil Rights Movement by Benny Andrews and Kathleen Benson
Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim (author) and E. B. Lewis (illustrator)
Two biographies, one for middle-graders (John Lewis in the Lead) and a picture book for younger children (Preaching to the Chickens) teach kids more about Lewis and his life.
John Lewis: An Icon on the March (watch at home)
In 2014, journalist Gwen Ifill interviewed John Lewis at The Aspen Institute on a range of topics. The Institute explains, “On the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, witness a conversation with longtime congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis about his latest journey using graphic novels to move young people to embrace nonviolence. In the late 1950s, his own mentors, Rev. Jim Lawson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., used a remarkable comic book to teach young people the fundamental principles of nonviolent social resistance. Now, following in their footsteps, Congressman Lewis has embarked on a nationwide campaign to use his award-winning graphic memoir series March to inspire a new generation to take up the fight against injustice in America.”