This book is a must read due to the magnitude of the author’s impact on US society. Before reading this book, I only knew people thought Lewis was powerful and had done much to free Black people from their unfortunate oppression in the US. I did not know much about the details of his life.
As I read there were many things about his life that took my breath away. First, he like many other prominent Black people in the US had to overcome poverty in his youth. If you’ve read some of my other reviews about Ursula Burns, John Thompson, Viola Davis, and Rakim you’d know this poverty is something they all had to overcome. Living through poverty tends to crush some and make diamonds out of others. Obviously poverty did the latter to Lewis, it refined and sharpen him without a doubt.
Second, he was with major Civil Rights leaders and others for many of the monumental moments in the Civil Rights struggle like Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. This contact with such wonderful humans branded his life. His fate was greatness which is what he walked in all of his days.
Finally, like Mandela he was arrested many times for the cause of freedom. He, like Mandela, choose to struggle for the good of his fellow human rather than struggle just for his own family’s welfare. This decision made him often choose between freedom, as much freedom as a Black person had in the US’s Jim Crow South, or jail. He often chose jail.
I hesitate to say it but I must honestly state my experience with this book; the craft of the writing was average. But, the message of the book made up for the weakness in prose.
In the final analysis, humans must develop and/or accept lofty ideals. Lewis lived with lofty ideals willing to get into “good trouble.” Once we adopt ideals we should integrate them into our life be open to risk life and limb to make the ideal a reality. This can be our reality.
Live for lofty ideals,