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Moyers & Company: John Lewis Marches On

Airs Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Bill Moyers

In 2013, MOYERS & COMPANY re-affirms its commitment to investigate issues that matter to American democracy, particularly the continuing influence of big money and corporate self-interest on politics, the economy and daily life. Each week, veteran journalist Bill Moyers hosts compelling conversations with today's top thinkers about new ideas, crucial issues and workable solutions. Select episodes also feature Moyers' own meticulously researched essays on a variety of topics.

Its inaugural season examined the realities of life on the U.S-Mexico border, voter ID laws, the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United, the languages of politics and poetry, economic inequality for the millennial generation, the global battle over genetically modified seeds, and the cycles of poverty, powerlessness and despair in America's “sacrifice zones.”

public domain

Official photo of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)

“To look out and see the best of America convinced me more than anything else that this is the product, this is the work of the movement,” Lewis tells Moyers. “Sometimes you have to not just dream about what could be -- you get out and push and you pull and you preach. And you create a climate and environment to get those in high places, to get men and women of good will in power to act.”

"John Lewis Marches On" - On this episode of MOYERS & COMPANY, two icons of the 60s civil rights era -- Bill Moyers and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) -- meet to share experiences and revelations about the momentous March on Washington which they both attended 50 years ago.

Their discussion takes them to the spot in front of the Lincoln Memorial where Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, Roy Wilkins, and others famously spoke about freedom and justice, creating critical momentum for both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. While there, Moyers and Lewis attract the attention of schoolchildren, and conduct a spontaneous living history lesson.

The March on Washington is largely remembered for King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The 23-year-old Lewis, newly named to lead the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was the youngest of the featured speakers, but among the most defiant.

Now a 14-term congressman from Georgia, Lewis shares new insight into how the event unfolded -- including last-minute conflicts over his own manuscript. He also discusses the continuing challenges to racial and economic equality, and his unwavering dedication to nonviolence and brotherly love as a means toward a more just end -- even when facing inevitable violence and brutality.

Threading rarely seen documentary footage into their conversation, Moyers -- who was deputy director of the newly-created Peace Corps at the time -- also shares his own memories of the day. He concludes with an essay about how the pursuit of equal rights and opportunities for all Americans -- so championed at the March on Washington --continues to be thwarted.

John Lewis is on Facebook, and you can follow @repjohnlewis on Twitter. Bill Moyers is on Facebook, and you can follow @BillMoyers on Twitter. Miss last week's episode? MOYERS & COMPANY is available for online viewing.

Video

Full Show: John Lewis Marches On: July 26, 2013

John Lewis Marches On from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Above: In this episode, Bill Moyers and Rep. John Lewis revisit the 1963 March on Washington. How did it transform America?

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