Plano Reads: His Truth is Marching On

The Brown Bag Book Club invites you to join us for a discussion of His Truth is Marching On. The Brown Bag Book Club will meet in-person in the program room at Parr Library on March 24, 2022 at noon. Masking is encouraged and there is adequate room to carefully social distance.

His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by John Meacham

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This book is a timely look at the early career of John Lewis, pastor, civil rights leader, and longtime congressman. Lewis felt called to ministry early. Very early. An oft-told family story is Lewis as a child preaching to the family chickens. At age 17, he enrolled in a Nashville seminary where he was exposed to Christian philosophers who promoted the Social Gospel. This was a philosophy that Lewis embraced, and that guided much of his adult life. It was also at this time that he fell in with like-minded civil rights activists. Activists that were disciples of nonviolence in the pursuit of constitutional liberties and justice for Black Americans.

Post seminary, Lewis became an experienced organizer and activist and marched in what became known as Bloody Sunday. While trying to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama, Lewis was gassed, bullwhipped, and hit on the head with a billy club by Alabama state troopers; his skull fractured and his vision blurred. Images of Lewis and others being attacked on Bloody Sunday brought into people’s homes the truth of what African American’s were facing and was an impetus for passing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

John Lewis continued throughout his life to follow his faith and worked to make a better and more just world.  And while history will remember John Lewis for his accomplishments as a civil rights leader and a congressman, Lewis struggled with anxieties, fears, and sometimes despair digging deep within himself to overcome until hope returned. This book gives us a new perspective on John Lewis’ role and the personal cost.

book review

Throughout the book, Meacham not only shows Lewis’ obvious talent as an organizer and an instigator of what he called “good trouble”; what also emerges is the story of a preacher, the calling that a young Lewis yearned for and never really gave up. As always, the author is a fluid writer, and the book benefits from his inclusion of commentary from such contemporaries as Harry Belafonte. An added bonus is a heartfelt epilogue by Lewis himself. “The civil rights movement,” he writes, “brought about a nonviolent revolution–a revolution in values, a revolution in ideas. The soul force of this movement enabled America to find its moral compass.” An elegant, moving portrait of a giant of post-1950 American history. – Kirkus, 2020


Brown Bag Book Club, 2018

The Brown Bag Book Club invites you to join us for a discussion of His Truth is Marching On. The Brown Bag Book Club will meet in-person in the program room at Parr Library on March 24, 2022 at noon. Masking is encouraged and there is adequate room to carefully social distance.

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