65 John Lewis Quotes On Success In Life

John Robert Lewis was an American politician, statesman, and civil rights activist, and leader who served in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death in 2020. He was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1963 to 1966. These John Lewis quotes will motivate you.

Best John Lewis Quotes

  1. “If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.” ~ John Lewis
  2. “You cannot be afraid to speak up and speak out for what you believe. You have to have courage, raw courage.” ~ John Lewis
  3. “Our struggle is a struggle to redeem the soul of America. It’s not a struggle that lasts for a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or a few years. It is the struggle of a lifetime, more than one lifetime.” ~ John Lewis
  4. “Young people can understand, and must understand, that we had success, we had failures, but we never gave up. We never gave in. We never became bitter. We didn’t hate. We continued to press on. And that’s what we’re saying: There are some ups, there are some downs, and when you’re not down, you must have the capacity and the ability to get up and keep going.” ~ John Lewis
  5. “We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.” ~ John Lewis

  6. “I met Rosa Parks when I was 17. I met Dr. [Martin Luther] King when I was 18. These two individuals inspired me to find a way to get in the way, to get in trouble. So I got in good trouble, necessary trouble.” ~ John Lewis
  7. “It is my hope that people today will see that, in another time, in another period, when we saw the need for people to speak up, to organize, to mobilize, and to do something about injustice, we came together.” ~ John Lewis
  8. “I say from time to time that the vote is precious. It’s almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool or instrument that we have in a democratic society. And we must use it.” ~ John Lewis, John Lewis quotes on voting
  9. “If you’re not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up. You have to take that long hard look and just believe that if your consistent, you will succeed” ~ John Lewis
  10. “You cannot give up – you have to be persistent and keep pushing, and press on.” ~ John Lewis

  11. “I thought I was going to die a few times. On the Freedom Ride in the year 1961, when I was beaten at the Greyhound bus station in Montgomery, I thought I was going to die. On March 7th, 1965, when I was hit in the head with a nightstick by a State Trooper at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, I thought I was going to die. I thought I saw death, but nothing can make me question the philosophy of nonviolence.” ~ John Lewis
  12. “When people tell me nothing has changed, I say come walk in my shoes and I will show you change.” ~ John Lewis
  13. “We have come a long way in America because of Martin Luther King, Jr. He led a disciplined, nonviolent revolution under the rule of law, a revolution of values, a revolution of ideas. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a distance to go before all of our citizens embrace the idea of a truly interracial democracy, what I like to call the Beloved Community, a nation at peace with itself.” ~ John Lewis
  14. “Nonviolence is one of those immutable principles that we cannot and must not deviate from.” ~ John Lewis
  15. “Don`t give up! Don`t give in! Keep the faith! And keep your eyes on the prize!” ~ John Lewis

  16. “We built a coalition of conscience, and that we can do it again, and we can go forward, and help redeem the soul of America.” ~ John Lewis
  17. “You have to have the capacity and the ability to take what people did, and how they did it, and forgive them and move on.” ~ John Lewis, John Lewis quotes on forgive
  18. “We never gave up. We didn’t get lost in a sea of despair. We kept the faith. We kept pushing and pulling. We kept marching. And we made some progress.” ~ John Lewis
  19. “To make it hard, to make it difficult almost impossible for people to cast a vote is not in keeping with the democratic process.” ~ John Lewis
  20. “But you have to have hope. You have to be optimistic in order to continue to move forward.” ~ John Lewis

  21. “I truly believe that one day we will get there, we will arrive. And if we do it right in America, maybe, just maybe, we can serve as a model for the rest of the world.” ~ John Lewis
  22. “We will stand up for what is right, for what is fair and what is just. Health care is a right and not a privilege.” ~ John Lewis
  23. “People must understand that people were beaten, arrested, jailed, and some people were murdered, while attempting to register to vote, or to get others to register to vote.” ~ John Lewis
  24. “When I speak to students about the Civil Rights Movement, I say that it is impossible to stop a determined movement that is captivating the American consciousness. I think the candidacy of Sen. Obama represents the beginning of a new movement in American political history that began in the hearts and minds of the people of this nation. And I want to be on the side of the people, on the side of the spirit of history.” ~ John Lewis
  25. “I’ve said it in the past and I’ll say it again today: the vote is precious; it’s almost sacred.” ~ John Lewis

  26. “I say to people today, ‘You must be prepared if you believe in something. If you believe in something, you have to go for it. As individuals, we may not live to see the end.” ~ John Lewis
  27. “[‘March’] is a path you must take if you want to move from one point to another point. If you want to make it down this very long and troublesome road, follow this path. Follow this message. Follow this map. And you will get there some day.” ~ John Lewis
  28. “I have fought too hard and for too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.” ~ John Lewis
  29. “Even in the civil rights movement, there were so many unbelievable women. They never, ever received the credit that they should have received. They did all of the, and I cannot say it, they did all of the dirty work. Hard work.” ~ John Lewis
  30. “When growing up, I saw segregation. I saw racial discrimination. I saw those signs that said white men, colored men. White women, colored women. White waiting. And I didn’t like it.” ~ John Lewis

  31. “In spite of all of the things, the issues, that we may be confronting today, I’m very hopeful, very optimistic about the future.” ~ John Lewis
  32. “I think Donald Trump is dividing the American people. He is not good for America. It’s not good for our standing in the rest of the world. To divide people based on race, a color, a religion, a sexual orientation, it’s just … it’s just wrong.” ~ John Lewis
  33. “Races don’t fall in love, genders don’t fall in love: Individuals fall in love. We all should be free to marry the person that we love.” ~ John Lewis
  34. “Medgar Evers was assassinated in his driveway retuning from an NAACP meeting in downtown Jackson. And then you go back there years later, and the blood is still on the driveway. They cannot wash it away.” ~ John Lewis
  35. “The lessons of nonviolence are universal. Not just for America.” ~ John Lewis

  36. “I believe that teachers – whether in elementary schools, at the secondary level, or at colleges and universities – every teacher deserves the Nobel Peace Prize just for maintaining order in our schools!” ~ John Lewis
  37. “Today, we have come a distance. We have made a lot of progress. That cannot be denied. You cannot dispute the fact that our country is so different from 50 years ago. But we still have problems. There are too many people that have been left out and left behind, and they are African American, they are White, Latino, Asian American, and Native American.” ~ John Lewis
  38. “Right now what my job is, and I think the job of Democrats and Republicans, is to protect the middle class and working families of this country from some devastating ideas that [Donald] Trump has proposed.” ~ John Lewis
  39. “When I was a student, I studied philosophy and religion. I talked about being patient. Some people say I was too hopeful, too optimistic, but you have to be optimistic just in keeping with the philosophy of non-violence.” ~ John Lewis
  40. “The reward for playing jazz is playing jazz.” ~ John Lewis

  41. “The last thing we want is a monolithic viewpoint where six people are standing before a president saying the same thing over and over again.” ~ John Lewis
  42. “The civil rights movement was based on faith. Many of us who were participants in this movement saw our involvement as an extension of our faith. We saw ourselves doing the work of the Almighty. Segregation and racial discrimination were not in keeping with our faith, so we had to do something.” ~ John Lewis
  43. “Every American has got to recognize, we are the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people. We pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs because the pharmacy, the pharmaceutical industry is out of control ripping us off.” ~ John Lewis
  44. “Be prepared to organize nonviolent workshops – a teach-in around what is happening in America today. Organize your teachers and schoolmates, and be prepared to engage in some action.” ~ John Lewis
  45. “The government, both state and federal, has a duty to be reasonable and accommodating.” ~ John Lewis

  46. “What sensible people have got to do is not simply repeal the Affordable Care Act without any alternative, but you’ve got to sit down and say it’s OK, what are the problems. How do we address it? How do we move to universal health care? How do we lower prescription drug costs? How do we make sure that people don’t have outrageous deductibles? You just don’t throw 20 million people off of health insurance. You don’t privatize Medicare.” ~ John Lewis
  47. “I think it is a must for young people and generations yet to come, to understand, to feel, to touch, to almost smell the drama of what happened a few short years ago [the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s]. So maybe, just maybe, we will never ever repeat this unbelievable time in our history. We have to tell it all, and make it plain, and make it clear, so people will never ever forget the distance we have come, and the progress we have yet to make.” ~ John Lewis
  48. “I don’t have any extraordinary gifts. I’m just an average Joe who grew up very poor in rural Alabama.” ~ John Lewis

  49. “We’re not questioning the legitimacy of the outcome of the election. You didn’t have Republicans questioning whether or not [Barack] Obama legitimately beat John McCain in 2008.” ~ John Lewis
  50. “First time I got arrested, I knew somehow and some way, we would succeed. To go on the Freedom Ride to be beaten and left bloody and unconscious, to be beaten on that bridge in Selma, have a concussion – I thought that I was going to die on that bridge. But somehow and some way, I lived to tell about what happened, and I’ve seen some of the fruits of the labor of so many people, and people must understand that.” ~ John Lewis
  51. “I think right now, the focus has got to be on how we hold [Donald] Trump accountable.” ~ John Lewis

  52. “Maybe, just maybe, there should be a graphic novel dealing with the contribution of the women of the civil rights movement, to tell their story. The pain, the hurt. They raised their children. Some were working as maids, but when they left those kitchens, those homes, they made it to the mass meetings. And they put their bodies on the lines, also.” ~ John Lewis
  53. “The advent of the civil rights movement during the 50s and 60s made it very plain crystal clear to me that we had an obligation to do what we could to make real the Constitution of the United States of America.” ~ John Lewis quotes
  54. “That’s where the outrage should be, not old news, but the fact that we are preparing for the transfer of power. and we have been working with President [Barack] Obama, hand in glove, and I think that they – including the president – should step up and get his people in line and tell them to grow up and accept the fact that they lost the election.” ~ John Lewis
  55. “Sensible people have got to work together.” ~ John Lewis

  56. “That’s where the outrage should be, not old news, but the fact that we are preparing for the transfer of power. and we have been working with President [Barack] Obama, hand in glove, and I think that they – including the president – should step up and get his people in line and tell them to grow up and accept the fact that they lost the election.” ~ John Lewis
  57. “I would say to a young person: continue to study. Study what is taking place in your community, in your neighborhood, maybe at your school.” ~ John Lewis
  58. “Many of us in Nashville accepted nonviolence as a way of life, a way of living, not simply as a technique or a tactic.” ~ John Lewis
  59. “I remember being at the church a few hours after the church was bombed in Birmingham, the 16th Street Baptist Church. It was very hard and very difficult to stand on that corner across the street from the church. Or to go Mississippi and search for the three civil rights workers who came up missing. There is a lot of trauma.” ~ John Lewis
  60. “I believe it is my obligation to tell the story of the civil rights movement to the next generation.” ~ John Lewis

  61. “I would like to think that we have made much more progress, that we’ve come much further, to have someone like a Donald Trump to emerge as the nominee of a major political party.” ~ John Lewis
  62. “People should organize people to just turn up and participate in the democratic process. Knock on doors. They may not be old enough to register to vote, but they can urge their teachers, their parents, their grandparents, their mothers, their fathers, and others to get out and vote.” ~ John Lewis
  63. “I think that [James] Comey acted in an outrageous way during the [presidential ] campaign [in 2016].” ~ John Lewis

  64. “When I was 15 years old in the tenth grade, I heard Martin Luther King, Jr. Three years later, when I was 18, I met Dr. King and we became friends. Two years after that I became very involved in the civil rights movement. I was in college at the time. As I got more and more involved, I saw politics as a means of bringing about change” ~ John Lewis
  65. “There are hundreds and thousands of young Americans who cannot or will not receive an education, because in order to get an education, you have to spend money. Students come out of college and universities with unbelievable debt. It’s not right, it’s not fair, and it’s not just, in a society such as ours. And those dollars are not going to the teachers.” ~ John Lewis

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