Major Civil Rights Icon Tells Colbert He Applauds Kaepernick's Bravery
Civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) calls dissent and protest in the name of racial and civil rights "good trouble, necessary trouble.” The Georgia congressman joined "The Late Show" in June to promote his comic book, March. And last night, he tipped his hat to Colin Kaepernick's recent protest.
“I truly believe, when you see something that’s not right, that’s not fair, not just, you have to do something,” Lewis said. “You have a right to protest. It’s protected by our Constitution. You have a right to dissent. Dr. King said you have a right to protest for what is right. So, this young man, this football player, is acting according to the dictates of his conscience and we should support him."
The audience loved his answer so much they encouraged the congressman to crowdsurf, which he thouroughly enjoyed.
Growing up in rural Alabama in the 1950's Lewis saw firsthand the discriminatory signs of the era.
"I would see those signs that said ‘White Men,’ ‘Colored Men,’ ‘White Women,’ ‘Colored Women,’ ‘White Waiting,’ Colored Waiting,’" Lewis told Late Show host Stephen Colbert. "I would ask my mother, my father, my grandparents, my great-grandparents, they would say, ‘That’s the way it is. Don’t get in the way. Don’t get in trouble.’ But I heard of Rosa Parks. I heard of Martin Luther King, Jr. I met Rosa Parks in 1957 when I was 17. In 1958, I met Dr. King and these two individuals inspired me to get in trouble. And I’ve been getting in good trouble, necessary trouble, ever since.”
This year, Lewis' biggest fight was on the House floor where he led a rally in support of stricter gun legislation after the House GOP had blocked such measures.
“They want us to do something,” Lewis said. “More than 90 or 95 percent of the American people are saying, ‘Pass legislation to stop the killing.’ We’ve lost too many of our children, too many of our sisters and brothers, too many of our mothers and fathers. We’ve got to stop the killing.”