The civil rights movement lost torch-bearer John Lewis six months ago, but his legacy was still very much alive yesterday as the Northeastern community remembered how the Georgia congressman’s encouraging words to stir up “good trouble” impacted their lives and their academic research.
Lewis was the focal point of the university’s annual Martin Luther King commemoration, which comes at a time of high political and racial tumult, according to several speakers on the agenda. Lewis, who died at 80 from cancer, was, like his friend King, an advocate of nonviolence who championed racial equality in the Jim Crow South. King would have turned 92 years old last Friday.
“John Lewis’s life and mission exhorted us to be good troublemakers in order to build a society without racism,” said Joseph E. Aoun, Northeastern’s president. “This goal is universal.”
But recent events, including an image seen around the world of a protester storming the U.S. Capitol carrying a Confederate flag, should serve as a reminder that more work needs to be done, said Ted Landsmark, an attorney and distinguished professor of public policy and urban affairs who facilitated a panel discussion with other Northeastern faculty.