Teaching Tolerance Interview With John Lewis

This clip is from a September 9, 2014 interview between Teaching Tolerance and John Lewis.
John Lewis
Grade Level

We were sitting down at a lunch counter at a Woolworth’s store, and a local police officer came by and said, “You must move. You refuse to move. You’ll be placed under arrest.” I stayed anchored on that stool until they caught me under my arms and led me out of the store to a wagon to be taken off to jail.

I felt free. I felt liberated. I felt like I had crossed over. I was not afraid. I had lost all sense of fear. I felt free even in jail—even behind bars. I felt free. I was in there with my friends, my colleagues, and even in jail we could sing songs. We could conduct nonviolent workshops. It was almost like a teach-in in jail. So by being behind these bars in this jail cell, I think the opposition thought they were hurting us but in a real sense they brought us closer together. 

Copyright © Teaching Tolerance.
Text Dependent Questions
  1. Question
    Where was John Lewis when he was arrested?
    He was sitting at a lunch counter at a Woolworth’s store.
  2. Question
    What does “liberated” mean?
    It means to be freed.
  3. Question
    Who is the “us” John Lewis refers to in the final sentence?
    “Us” refers to those fighting in the civil rights movement.
  4. Question
    How did being in jail bring those fighting in the civil rights movement closer together?
    Being in jail together provided them time to think and work together, making their ideas and the movement they were involved in stronger.
Reveal Answers
Teaching Tolerance collage of images

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Our work has evolved in the last 30 years, from reducing prejudice to tackling systemic injustice. So we’ve chosen a new name that better reflects that evolution: Learning for Justice.

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