“Sing Out, March On” at Harvard Commencement | Summary and Q&A

June 7, 2018
Harvard University
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“Sing Out, March On” at Harvard Commencement


A moving tribute to civil rights icon John Lewis and the enduring power of marching and raising one's voice.

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Key Insights

  • 🗯️ John Lewis's legacy as a civil rights leader continues to inspire and empower individuals to fight for justice.
  • 🤨 Marching serves as a powerful tool for raising awareness, spurring collective action, and effecting social change.
  • 👨‍⚖️ The content highlights the intergenerational impact and responsibility in the pursuit of justice.
  • 💱 Personal commitment and sacrifice are essential components of creating lasting change.
  • 🤨 Raising one's voice and making noise can be transformative in challenging systems of oppression.
  • 👨‍⚖️ The content emphasizes the importance of passing on the torch of activism and social justice to future generations.
  • ✊ John Lewis's belief in the power of unity and solidarity is a guiding force in the fight for justice.


Well I marched through the storm, and I marched through the rain. And I marched through some sickness and some heartache and pain. And I laid on the ground, and I looked up at the sky, and I prayed to Lord up above and asked why. But oh no, I'm not tired, I'm not through marching yet, and I'ma march until I die, oh children: this you can bet. So we... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why was John Lewis considered an important figure in the civil rights movement?

John Lewis was an important figure in the civil rights movement due to his tireless activism, leadership, and commitment to nonviolent protest. He played a significant role in organizing marches and advocating for equal rights for African Americans.

Q: How did John Lewis inspire younger generations?

John Lewis inspired younger generations through his courageous acts of protest, his dedication to fighting for justice, and his unwavering belief in the power of mobilizing and raising one's voice. His legacy serves as a powerful example of the impact individuals can have on social change.

Q: What message does the content convey about the power of marching?

The content conveys that marching is not just an act of physical movement but a symbol of resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment to a cause. It highlights how marching can bring attention to important issues and inspire others to take action.

Q: What role does the content suggest individuals should play in the pursuit of justice?

The content suggests that individuals should actively participate in the pursuit of justice by raising their voices and taking collective action. It emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility and the need for individuals to stand up against injustice.


This video features a powerful speech by John Lewis, who reflects on his experiences and shares his determination to continue marching for justice. The video also includes a heartfelt tribute to Lewis by the students.

Questions & Answers

Q: What hardships did John Lewis face during his march for justice?

John Lewis marched through storms, rain, sickness, heartache, and pain. He laid on the ground, looked up at the sky, and questioned why. Despite all these challenges, he remains determined and not tired.

Q: What inspired John Lewis to continue marching?

The inspiration for John Lewis to continue marching stems from his belief in making noise and raising his voice. He sees singing as a form of resistance, and if he can't sing, he feels like he would die. He wants to set an example for his children, so they won't have to march for their rights in the future.

Q: Were there others in John Lewis's family who marched for justice?

Yes, John Lewis mentions that his grandmomma and granddaddy also marched for justice. He never thought he would have to follow in their footsteps, but he is willing to do so to fulfill his mission.

Q: How did John Lewis feel about the tribute made by the students?

John Lewis expresses his gratitude and describes the tribute as a beautiful honor, both for himself and the students. He recognizes the significance of being heard at a young age and the impact it can have on future generations.

Q: What memories does John Lewis have of the March on Washington?

John Lewis recalls hearing John Lewis's speech at the March on Washington when he was only 18 years old. This experience left a lasting impression on him and inspired him to become actively involved in the fight for justice.

Q: What message does John Lewis want to convey through his speech?

John Lewis wants to convey the message of perseverance and the importance of continuing the fight for justice. He encourages others to march on, sing out, and make their voices heard in order to bring about meaningful change.

Q: How does John Lewis view the power of raising voices?

John Lewis firmly believes in the power of raising one's voice. He sees it as a means of making noise, creating awareness, and ultimately demanding the necessary changes for a more just society.

Q: What impact does John Lewis hope to achieve through his actions?

John Lewis hopes that his actions and sacrifices will inspire others to stand up for what is right. He wants to create a world where future generations won't have to face the same struggles and injustices that he and those before him have experienced.

Q: How does John Lewis view the connection between singing and marching?

For John Lewis, singing and marching go hand in hand. Singing becomes an act of resistance and solidarity, and it fuels his determination to keep marching. He emphasizes the importance of singing for one another to uplift spirits and maintain a sense of unity.

Q: What does John Lewis urge others to do in his speech?

In his speech, John Lewis urges others to join him in singing out and marching on. He encourages people to continue fighting for justice, one step at a time, and to never give up on the mission of creating a more equitable and just society.


John Lewis's speech and the tribute by the students highlight the importance of perseverance, raising one's voice, and continuing the fight for justice. It serves as a reminder that the struggles of the past should not be forgotten, and that each individual has the power to make a difference in their own unique way. The video serves as a call to action, urging individuals to march on and sing out for a better future.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The content pays tribute to civil rights leader John Lewis and his tireless dedication to marching for justice.

  • It emphasizes the importance of continuing to march and raise one's voice in the face of adversity and injustice.

  • The content showcases the impact of Lewis's legacy on younger generations and the need for collective action.

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