Our nation continues to mourn the passing of Congressman John Lewis,  whose funeral was today at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.  Presidents Bush and Clinton spoke, and President Obama delivered the eulogy. (You can find the transcript of Obama’s eulogy here).

Here are a few inspirational quotes from Congressman Lewis, taken from speeches which in which he talks about his lifelong fight for civil rights.  Share them with your children, and enjoy.


  • I have said this before, and I will say it again. The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy.


  • If you’re not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up. You have to take the long hard look and just believe that if you’re consistent, you will succeed.


  • Take a long, hard look down the road you will have to travel once you have made a commitment to work for change.  Know that this transformation will not happen right away.  Change often takes time.  It rarely happens all at once.  In the movement, we didn’t know how history would play itself out.  When we were getting arrested and waiting in jail or standing in unmovable lines on the courthouse steps, we didn’t now what would happen, but we knew it had to happen.


  • Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.


  • You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone — any person or any force — dampen, dim or diminish your light … Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won.


  • I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that we have an obligation to condemn speech that is racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic, or hateful.


  • We are one people; we are only family. And when we finally accept these truths, then we will be able to fulfill Dr. King’s dream to build a beloved community, a nation, and a world at peace with itself.