Jon Meacham talked about his times with the late Congressman John Lewis, who graduated in 1961 from American Baptist College (ABC).  Meacham’s presentation was first in the inaugural American Baptist College Presidential Lecture Series.

 Meacham described Congressman Lewis’ impact as uplifting and inspiring within the community to change it for the better.  He said, “What we celebrate and what we commemorate are those moments when we open our arms, as opposed to clenching our fist.”

Regarding being able to make changes in policy and people, Meacham explained, “It won’t bend unless people insist that it swerves.” In other words, policies and laws were changed, such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, because a leader like John Lewis advocated and fought among others.  They were able to sway to make something different.

ABC President, Dr. Forrest Harris, explained the Presidential Lecture Series exists because it represents the high priority in our mission of educating to liberate women and men of all creeds, colors, and identities for Christian service, leadership, and social justice in the world.  “We could not find more inspiration for this mission than honoring and learning from the leadership legacies of Congressman John Lewis and Rev. C. T. Vivian.”

Attendees found that Meacham shared information about Congressman Lewis, they were unaware of, and they knew him well.  Edwina Hefner, former First Lady at Tennessee State University and now an Atlanta resident agreed with many participants that Meacham provided great insight about the Atlanta Congressman.  “I found his presentation to be insightful and his stories about Congressman Lewis vividly informative,” she stated. Meacham explained “I argued with the Congressman, and I don’t know why, because I always lost.”  The Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Chair in American Presidency at Vanderbilt University recently released his book on Congressman Lewis,  ‘His Truth is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope,’ which highlights much of the discussion in this Presidential Lecture Series.

The next presentation will be Dr. Riggins Earl, professor of Ethics and Theology at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, who will present information on the late Rev. C. T. Vivian.  It will be on Zoom on Monday, October 26 at 6 p.m. Go to Eventbrite to register.  For information contact Andre’ Trice at