Main content

John Lewis

Follow the courageous journey of John Lewis, a civil rights hero, congressional leader, and human rights champion whose unwavering fight for justice spanned the past 57 years. The son of sharecroppers, Lewis grew up in the segregated South and rose from Alabama's Black Belt to the corridors of power on Capitol Hill. His humble origins have forever linked him to those whose voices often go unheard.

Through never-before-seen interviews shot over 20 years, Lewis tells the gripping tale of his role in the vanguard of the Civil Rights Movement. He was the youngest speaker at the historic 1963 March on Washington and he led the Bloody Sunday march in Selma in 1965 where Alabama state troopers attacked peaceful protesters with billy clubs, bullwhips, and tear gas. This march led to President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act into law, which prohibited racial discrimination at the polls.

Originally an activist pushing from the outside, Lewis became the conscience of congress who made noise on the inside pressing for justice, equality, and human rights. Despite setbacks-and there were many-John Lewis' eyes remained steadfastly on the prize.

''The vote,' John Lewis reminds us in Get in the Way, 'is the most powerful non-violent tool that we have in a democracy.' His fearless lifelong effort to protect that tool is at the heart of this moving look at a principled leader. Congressman Lewis is gone when we most need him, but Kathleen Dowdey's inspiring film invites Americans of all ages to break bread with one of this country's true redeemers. Don't pass up this invitation!' Peter H. Wood, Emeritus Professor of History, Duke University, Author, Black Majority

'Inspiring...The civil rights struggle that has occupied most of Lewis's 77 years is facing a tidal wave of new challenges...The values he embodies are more important than ever.' Frazier Moore, Associated Press

'Trump, as you may recall, tweeted that Lewis was 'all talk, talk, talk - no action or results'...The documentary will show just how wrong Trump was in his tweet. Lewis has been all action, action, action.' Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe

'The film takes viewers on a journey from Lewis's roots as the son of sharecroppers to his work to end segregation and gain African-American voting rights, to his work as a Washington, D.C. insider to combat discrimination, poverty, poor education, police brutality, inaccessible health care, and voter limitations...But it also gives us a glimpse to his warm, mischievous side.' Susan Karlin, Fast Company

'Through a sweeping and at times non-linear style, Get In the Way gives the audience a sense of Lewis not so much as a biographical subject, but as Representative John Larson put it, an 'experience seared into our collective memory.'' Argun Ulgen, Pop Matters

'We were impressed with the community engagement and discussion that came out of Get in the Way. Patrons let us know how important it is to tell stories from leading voices in history.' Zoe Del Mar, Communications Manager, Cambridge Public Library

'Highly Recommended...The sheer historical weight of his experiences, combined with his highly polished way of recounting them, makes for gripping viewing...This program is highly recommended for teaching about the Civil Rights era.' Timothy Hackman, University of Maryland, Educational Media Reviews Online


Main credits

Dowdey, Kathleen (film director)
Dowdey, Kathleen (film producer)
Benson, Lillian E. (editor of moving image work)
Schner, Charles A. (director of photography)
Kambon, Camara (composer (expression))
Lewis, John (on-screen participant)

Other credits

Edited by Lillian E. Benson, A.C.E.; director of photography, Charles A. Schner; music by Camara Kambon.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

African-American Studies
American Democracy
American Studies
Citizenship and Civics
Civil Rights
Human Rights
Political Science
Race and Racism
Social Justice


john lewis, congress, biography,civil rights,civil rights movement, american history, american studies, get in the way,us government, united states government, human rights,social justice,voting rights,voter rights, democracy, civics; "John Lewis"; Bullfrog Films

Related Films

The Long Walk To Freedom

A story of 12 ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things in…

Power to Heal

Tells a poignant chapter in the historic struggle to secure equal and…

Home of the Brave

Short-Listed for Best Documentary Feature, Academy Awards®, examines…