The Democratic congressman was answering the final question of his hour-long appearance and the second from one of the youths in the crowd. The young man asked whether the veteran of the civil rights movement ever was so badly beaten that he wanted to give up.
Lewis was arrested 35 times before Atlanta elected him to Congress and five times since. He nearly died from beatings by Klansmen in a Greyhound waiting room in Montgomery, Ala., in 1961 and by state troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965.
But he said he never got down, never lost faith and never became bitter. He just got back up and continued the fight.
The first question after Lewis spoke for about 30 minutes came from Davis’ student government president, Lily Fleischmann, who asked what Lewis hopes young people will learn from his three-part graphic memoir series, “March,” the most recent volume of which won a National Book Award in November.
“Madame President,” he said, drawing a chuckle from the crowd, “thank you for your leadership.” He said he hopes youths who read the books will learn never to give up, will keep the faith and will keep pushing for a better world.
Lewis wants to “inspire people to give everything they can” to make this country and this world better.
Young people not only should never give up on themselves and their goals, he said. “Never, ever give up on another person.”