There is an old African proverb: "When you pray, you move your feet." The proverb resonates powerfully in this quote from John Lewis' memoir, Walking in the Wind: "As a nation if we care for the beloved community, we must move our feet, our hands, our hearts, our resources to build and not tear down, to reconcile and not to divide, to love and not to hate, to heal and not to kill. In the final analysis, we are one people, one family, one house, the American house, the American family."
John Lewis is a powerful writer. I read Walking in the Wind several years ago, and it had a powerful impact on me. John Lewis: Good Trouble, the documentary, makes that same powerful impact: It brings his story to life! As in his memoir, the film reveals the man behind the legend.
I was moved to tears by the footage from the 1960s. I was beginning my teenage years back in 1963. Television was still a young medium, and it showed us all that was going on in the world daily. I was learning about the world and its ways in the '60s-the injustices, the fight for dignity, freedom, equality and decency. These were my middle school years, my high school years, formative years brought back to life as I watched this film.
History repeats itself until we learn. John Lewis: Good Trouble follows John Lewis throughout his young life in Alabama, working on his parent's farm, feeding chickens, picking cotton. Mr. Lewis' narration of waking up early, hiding under the porch to wait for the school bus, running onto the bus to get to school to his wonderful teachers where he says he read everything, is a powerful visual image. I love what one of his sisters says about John wearing a tie and carrying the Bible to school every day. John was a serious student. He wanted more in his life. Clearly, he wanted to make a difference in our country for racial justice for African American people. His tireless work and dedication started as a college student. From SNCC leader to Congressman from Georgia, John Lewis fought the good fight for voter's rights, for civil rights, for the right to eat at the same restaurant as white people, for integration, not segregation. His marches, his belief in nonviolence and commitment to the cause have continued for 65 years.
One story that Henry Gates Jr. tells about John Lewis' great-great grandfather getting his voting card back in the 1800s has a powerful twist. So many stories, so much history where he worked so hard from the time of Dr. Martin Luther King to President Barack Obama to now!
This inspirational documentary is a must see. John Lewis: Good Trouble weaves an important story about an exceptional man, shows us our history from the '60s to today, and demonstrates the part John Lewis played, and continues to play, as the fight for racial justice and equality is at a pivotal moment in time with the Black Lives Matter movement.
I give John Lewis: Good Trouble 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it for 9 to 18-year-olds to learn about an effective leader and his plight-and to understand even further the times we are currently living through. I also recommend it to adults, to remember all that has transpired through the years, to reflect and act on how we can all move forward once and for all to make the change that is way long overdue. It will be released July 3, 2020 on Apple TV. Be sure to look for it.
Reviewed by Terry S., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer