John Lewis: Good Trouble
By Director Dawn Porter

From acclaimed documentarian and activist Dawn Porter (Trapped, Gideon’s Army), John Lewis: Good Trouble surveys the life and hard-fought achievements of the legendary civil rights activist and Democratic Representative from Georgia. 

Above: John Lewis revisits the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the spot where  the police attached the unarmed Selma to Montgomery marchers, 1965. 

Combining rare archival footage and interviews—with congressional newcomers and Civil Rights Movement giants like James Clyburn and the late Elijah Cummings—the documentary looks back on its subject’s 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, healthcare reform and immigration. 

Most of all, Porter includes candid conversations with Lewis himself, who looks back on his childhood experiences, family, and a fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Thanks to Film at Lincoln Center (FLC), John Lewis: Good Trouble is available for viewing. A 2020 Magnolia Pictures release, the documentary runs 96 minutes. Priced at $12, with 50-percent of the proceeds supporting FLC, the rental includes exclusive access to a special Q&A between John Lewis and Oprah Winfrey, which plays at the end of the film. Additionally available is a panel discussion hosted by the Freedom Rides Museum and featuring Freedom Riders Dr. Bernard Lafayette and Dr. Rip Patton in conversation with director Dawn Porter.

Above: John Lewis was one of the organizes of the historic 1963 March on Washington.

LEWIS’ POLITICAL PROFILE 

Born in 1940 to sharecropper parents, John Robert Lewis was an American politician and civil rights leader who served in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death in 2020 from pancreatic cancer. Lewis served as the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1963 to 1966.

Lewis was one of the “Big Six” leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington and the last surviving one at the time of his death. He fulfilled many key roles in the civil rights movement and its actions to end legalized racial segregation in the U.S. 

In 1965, Lewis led the Selma to Montgomery marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. In an incident which became known as Bloody Sunday, armed Alabama police attacked unarmed civil rights demonstrators, which included Lewis.

Above: John Lewis was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, 2011.

A member of the Democratic Party, Lewis was first elected to Congress in 1986 and served for 17 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Due to his length of service, he became the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. The district he represented includes the northern three-quarters of  Atlanta. 

He was a leader of the Democratic Party in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1991 as a Chief Deputy Whip and from 2003 as Senior Chief Deputy Whip. Lewis received over 30 honorary degrees and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

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