John Lewis is a hero. He is one of my heroes. Over the past few years I have sought to better understand the plight of blacks and their struggles to overcome the oppression they have been subject to since coming to this country. In that time I have read numerous books and have been deeply impacted by the stories of many who sacrificed everything to fight for what they believed. Before reading this book I had never heard of John Lewis and I was unaware of the critical role he played in the Civil Rights Movement. Walking with the Wind is his memoir of the movement and documents his life and his efforts to fight for the rights of blacks. But more than that he offers wisdom and insight that is still as relevant today as it was when he wrote it over twenty years ago. I was so deeply impacted by John Lewis’s life that I shed tears (ugly crying) while sitting in an airplane watching the movie Selma and the depiction of the march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama in 1965. It was John Lewis who led that march and it was John Lewis who took the first blow- being knocked to the ground and struck in the head with a nightstick resulting in a skull fracture and concussion. John Lewis offers insight into the struggle that I just wasn’t aware of, but I’m so grateful to have gained his insight.


One of my favorite parts of the book comes in the prologue where Mr Lewis describes a time as a child where he was playing at his aunt’s home with his siblings and cousins. There was a severe thunderstorm and the force of the wind caused the house to sway and a corner to lift. At the instruction of his Aunt Seneva, this small group of scared kids grasped hands and walked towards the corner of the house that was lifting. “And so it went, back and forth, fifteen children walking with the wind, holding that trembling house down with the weight of our small bodies.” John Lewis then compares that experience with the storms that society has faced, and continues to face, throughout our history and how people of conscience never leave the house. “Children holding hands, walking with the wind. That is America to me- not just the movement for civil rights but the endless struggle to respond with decency, dignity and a sense of brotherhood to all the challenges that face us as a nation, as a whole.”

John Lewis’s story is beautiful, inspiring, and is an absolute must read.