In this episode, we’re honoring John Lewis, the civil rights hero and Congressman who died in 2020. The bond that Lewis forged with young Tybre Faw is the subject of a new picture book by best-selling author Andrea Davis Pinkney. Illustrated by Keith Henry Brown, the book is called Because of You, John Lewis: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship.
Andrea joins host Suzanne McCabe to talk about the inspiration for the book—the moment she saw Tybre, then 12, reading William Ernest Henley’s poem, “Invictus,” at the Congressman’s funeral.
“I watched this child honoring this civil rights hero, and I wondered what had led him to this moment,” Andrea says.
Tybre first met Lewis in 2018 in Selma, Alabama. His two grandmothers had driven him from their home in Tennessee to the annual march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The bridge was the site of an assault by state troopers on Lewis and hundreds of voting rights demonstrators in March 1965. “Bloody Sunday” would prove to be a turning point in the civil rights movement, outraging the nation and leading to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act.
Later in the episode, U.S. Representative Nikema Williams shares her memories of Lewis and explains how Tybre and other young people are following in the courageous leader’s footsteps. Williams now represents Georgia in the same congressional seat Lewis once held.