Social Work school premieres John Lewis documentary

Thursday, Mar 21, 2024

By Jaelon Jackson
School of Social Work

2024 Black History Month flyer

Faculty, staff and students were invited to a film and discussion event for Black History Month hosted Feb. 28 by The University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work.

In the School of Social Work and SMART Hospital building, the audience watched and discussed the film “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” a 2020 documentary directed by Dawn Porter depicting the life and accomplishments of U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

John Lewis emerged as a significant figure in American civil rights and politics, contributing profoundly to the quest for racial equality. Originating from Alabama, Lewis played a pivotal role within the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, orchestrating impactful events like the 1963 March on Washington.

Nelda Lawson, manager of the office of administration and business operations, technology services and special events, was a participant in the event.

"It was very powerful and uplifting. The documentary was a moving tribute to an American icon. He paved the way for many people to be where we are today," Lawson said.

Coined by Lewis, the phrase "engage in good trouble, necessary trouble" became a rallying call for nonviolent civil disobedience against injustice.

Beyond his activism, Lewis served more than three decades as a U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th Congressional District, leaving a legacy dedicated to nonviolence and civil rights principles profoundly influencing American history.

The discussion panel at the end was moderated by Dr. Jandel Crutchfield, social work associate professor.

"I had the honor of meeting John Lewis several years ago, and though he was small in stature, he is a giant in world history. He is someone who never gave up hope for a more perfect world even through all the discrimination he faced,” Dr. Crutchfield said.

Lewis announced he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in December 2019. He died seven months later at the age of 80.

Regarding the film event, Dr. Crutchfield said, “It was good to be in community with social work colleagues as we talked about societal challenges that we still face and the need to be courageous like John Lewis."

Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 by former U.S. President Barack Obama.

In 2020, a seven-foot statute of Lewis commissioned by Rodney Mims Cook Jr., son of former Georgia State Rep. Rodney Mims Cook Sr., and sculpted by Gregory Johnson was placed in Cook Park.

The park is a new addition to the city of Atlanta, Georgia, and is named after Cook Sr. The park located in the Vine City area of Atlanta will eventually have 18 bronze statutes dedicated to peacemakers with ties to the state of Georgia.