4-5 paragraphs: 2 body paragraphs with 3 examples or 3 body paragraphs with 2 examples/ 6 examples minimum from the sources. / Add a historical example and a personal experience.

TJohn Lewis was an icon of the Civil Rights movement in the United States, joining the nonviolent protest movement when he was only 17 years old and then serving in Congress for 33 years. Throughout his lifetime, he encouraged people to speak out against injustice and take action to improve their communities. His words live on, and many believe that they have been and will continue to be a source of inspiration, particularly for young people who want to see the world improved.

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Read an obituary of John Lewis, an excerpt from one of his speeches, and some social media posts made from his official House of Representatives account. Think about Lewis’ perspective on the responsibility of good people to protest and work toward change. Then, write an informational essay that explains the definition of “good trouble” as illustrated in Lewis’ words, as well as how that idea applies to your own life and the world around you. Be sure to develop your explanations with clear examples and non-examples from your experiences, history, and current events.

Source 1


By Carla D. Hayden
July 19, 2020

Few people that you meet truly rouse the best in you. They are walking heroes, living historymakers. Their words and deeds have a thunderous impact on your soul. Congressman John Robert Lewis was such a person for me. I join the world in mourning the passing of this civil rights legend.

The son of a sharecropper growing up in rural Alabama, he said as a little boy he was in constant fear because of signs that said “no colored boys, no colored girls.” His parents and grandparents used to tell him “don’t get in trouble.” Nevertheless, as a young man he was inspired to activism by the Montgomery Bus Boycott that started when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat.

John Lewis told how he was inspired by Rosa Parks to write to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was given a round trip bus ticket to Montgomery to meet with Dr. King and upon meeting him was nicknamed, “The Boy from Troy.”

He risked his life countless times by organizing voter registration drives, sit-ins at lunch counters and was beaten and arrested for challenging the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the South. While still a young man, John Lewis was already a nationally recognized leader and was named one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. He was also the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and his papers and interviews from this time are held at the Library of Congress. At the age of 23, he was a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in 1963.

On March 7, 1965, John Lewis led more than 600 peaceful protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state of Alabama. They were greeted by brutal attacks by Alabama State Troopers that became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

The congressman was a frequent guest at the Library of Congress. His generous spirit touched everyone he met in the halls of the Library – whether it was reading his graphic novel “March” or speaking at public events – his gentle temperament kept you at ease. His graphic novel allowed him to continue to connect with a new generation of young readers in the hope of inspiring them the way Rosa Parks had inspired him.

In November, John Lewis celebrated the AIDS Memorial Quilt collection arriving at the Library of Congress. His message of peaceful resolve, perseverance and care still rings loud. “In the height of the civil rights movement, we spoke of love,” Lewis said. “On one occasion Dr. King said to some of us, just love everybody. Love them who fail to love you, just love. Just love a little hell out of everybody.”

The world mourns. But we also celebrate a great warrior and fighter of injustice. Let us remember his story and listen to the words he passionately shared for more than a half a century. Congressman John Robert Lewis embodies the best in all of us. Let his legacy and spirit live on. I offer my prayers and condolences to his family and to the grateful people of his district in Georgia.

Source 2


In 2016, following a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, John Lewis delivered a rousing speech to the United States House of Representatives. Frustrated with inaction on gun control measures, at 76 years old, he led a sit-in protest on the House chamber floor. The following excerpt is from that speech, which immediately preceded the sit-in:

“Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary. Sometimes you have to make a way out of no way. We have been too quiet for too long. There comes a time when you have to say something, when you have to make a little noise, when you have to move your feet. This is the time. Now is the time to get in the way. The time to act is now. We will be silent no more. The time for silence is over.”


Source 3


In 2020, the murder of an African American man named George Floyd by a white police officer culminated decades of outrage against police brutality and sparked worldwide protests. While these protests were predominantly peaceful demonstrations, some individuals expressed their anger by stealing and/or destroying property. John Lewis expressed his perspective on Twitter in this post:

Tweet by John lewis: ” I know your pain, your rage, your sense of despairand hopelessness. justice has, indeed, been denied for far too long. Riotin, looting, and burning is not the way. Organize. Demonstrate. Sit-in.Stand-up. Vote. Be constructive, not destructive.

Source 4


After his death on July 17, 2020, several of John Lewis’ friends, colleagues, and followers shared this post from 2019 that captured the philosophy he embodied from his early activism in the 1960s through the last days of his life:

Tweet by John Lewis: :Do not get lost in sea of despair. Do not become bitter or hostile. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. We will find a way out of no way.


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