Thursday, November 5, 2020
Francine J. Lipman (UNLV), Rep. John Lewis Making 'Good Trouble' in Georgia, 168 Tax Notes Fed. 681 (July 27, 2020):
“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.” Rep. John Robert Lewis (1940-2020)
It seems fitting that the civil rights movement was born in the district that John Robert Lewis represented in Congress for 34 years until his death on July 17. In the 1960s, Atlanta boasted a vibrant Black professional middle-class that became a cultural catalyst for civil rights activities. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, the headquarters of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and several historically Black colleges and universities were located there. Dr. King, who inspired, motivated, and mentored Rep. Lewis from an early age was also Atlanta-born.
Lewis was dedicated to the civil rights movement and trained in nonviolent protests in his early 20s. In 1961 he was one of 13 original Black and white Freedom Riders traveling across the country trying to help enforce the Supreme Court’s decision in Boynton,1 declaring segregated interstate public transportation unconstitutional. Lewis and his colleagues were violently assaulted and arrested routinely but were committed to the cause. Lewis suffered injuries and incarcerations including 40 days in the Mississippi State Penitentiary.
This essay demonstrates Congressman John Robert Lewis' dedication to all individual rights, including taxpayer rights.