Representative John Lewis Is Going Home Commentary
(c) William H. Widen 2015
Representative John Lewis Is Going Home

I learned with sadness, but not surprise, that Rep. John Lewis lost his battle with pancreatic cancer yesterday.

Congressman John Lewis lived courage. Courage takes the path less traveled. Others will write the details. I want to share with you one perspective.

John Lewis was savagely beaten—his skull fractured—on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama during a march for civil rights. The view of that bridge from the Selma side of the river is famous. I want to show you the view from the other side of the river because it is an uncommon view.

Lewis had already exhibited courage—many times—but on that day, when he started his march, this is what he saw. On March 7, 1965, Courage took his first step near this point.

Mount Rushmore is too small to reflect Lewis’s uncommon courage. I urge law students to remember this view as they prepare for the bar. Use this view as a motivation to promote justice, an inspiration for your studies, and a reservoir of courage to guide your careers.

Photo Credit: (c) William H. Widen


William H. Widen is a Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida, and an elected member of the American Law Institute.


Suggested citation: William H. Widen, Representative John Lewis Is Going Home, JURIST – Academic Commentary, July 18, 2020,

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