in conversation with Frank Buckley
An intimate and revealing portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the painful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Soul of America
JON MEACHAM is a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer. A contributing writer for The New York Times Book Review and a contributing editor of Time magazine, he is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Hope of Glory, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, American Gospel, and Franklin and Winston. Meacham, who holds the Rogers Chair in the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University, lives in Nashville.
John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, was a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis, Jon Meacham writes of how this great-grandson of a slave and son of an Alabama tenant farmer was inspired by the Bible and his teachers in nonviolence, Reverend James Lawson and Martin Luther King, Jr., to put his life on the line in the service of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” From an early age, Lewis learned that nonviolence was not only a tactic but a philosophy, a biblical imperative, and a transforming reality. At the age of four, Lewis, ambitious to become a minister, practiced by preaching to his family’s chickens. When his mother cooked one of the chickens, the boy refused to eat it—his first act, he wryly recalled, of nonviolent protest. Integral to Lewis’s commitment to bettering the nation was his faith in humanity and in God—and an unshakable belief in the power of hope.
Meacham calls Lewis “as important to the founding of a modern and multiethnic twentieth- and twenty-first-century America as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and Samuel Adams were to the initial creation of the Republic itself in the eighteenth century.” A believer in the injunction that one should love one’s neighbor as oneself, Lewis was arguably a saint in our time, risking limb and life to bear witness for the powerless in the face of the powerful. In many ways he brought a still-evolving nation closer to realizing its ideals, and his story offers inspiration and illumination for Americans today who are working for social and political change.
Frank Buckley is an anchor of KTLA Morning News. Frank joined KTLA in June 2005 from CNN where he had been a national correspondent. Frank is also host of the “Frank Buckley Interviews” podcast.
Frank’s reporting experiences have taken him around the world and have included assignments covering the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, politics for CNN, frequent reporting from the White House during George W. Bush’s presidency, natural disasters in Japan, the Los Angeles riots, the Hong Kong handover, the OJ Simpson trial and countless other stories in Southern California and across the U.S.
Prior to KTLA and CNN, Frank reported for Los Angeles station KCAL-TV, WXII-TV in Winston-Salem, N.C., and at KESQ-TV in Palm Springs. He has also written for the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit News.