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Documentary on late civil rights icon John Lewis to be shown in Detroit

Jasmin Barmore
The Detroit News

Detroit — The new documentary, "John Lewis: Good Trouble," has been greenlit for an in-person viewing in Detroit on Aug. 6 — the 55th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act into law.

Community activist the Rev. Horace Sheffield III said the effort is to not only raise capital to rebuild Oklahoma’s historic Greenwood neighborhood but also give those in the Detroit area a chance to pay tribute to the late civil rights activist.  

“It’s a way for us to honor the life and legacy of someone who fought for our rights,” Sheffield said. “And given John Lewis’s history in terms of fighting discrimination and overcoming racism, there is no better call to exhibit this movie and raise money."

Proceeds from the screenings will go to the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to raise $10 million to restore Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, Sheffield said. He chairs the campaign to rebuild Black Wall Street. 

Lewis was the last standing of the civil rights activists known as the “Big Six.” He died Friday at the age of 80 from pancreatic cancer.  

His fight for civil rights included support from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who nicknamed Lewis "The Boy from Troy" after Lewis’ hometown and also allowed Lewis to speak to the “I Have a Dream” crowd prior to King giving the famous speech.  

"John Lewis: Good Trouble"

Review: 'John Lewis: Good Trouble' frames life of civil rights icon

The documentary's producer, former "Living Single" actress Erika Alexander, said she hopes it will give people an opportunity to learn more about how Lewis became the “American hero” he is today.

“The documentary gives people a scope into Lewis’ early life as a sharecropper and how he followed his mentor Martin Luther King into the racial storm and then emerged as a figure himself in the movement,” Alexander said. “We get to see how his whole life was forged inside one of the most turbulent times in history — the American civil rights movement.”

Sheffield said he plans to hold the in-person screenings in the parking lot of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations Sheffield Center with a projector on Aug. 6.

Five showings are planned with first at 11 a.m. and the last playing at 7 p.m.  A maximum of 100 people will be allowed to attend each viewing due to pandemic restrictions.

There will also be a Q&A session with Sheffield and Alexander included in the screening at 5 p.m.  

Online screenings also are available through Aug. 7. Both corporations and individuals can purchase virtual seats at restoreblackwallstreet2021.com. In-person tickets can be accessed through eventbrite.com/e/john-lewis-good-trouble-screening-tickets-115424085547.

 The documentary is being screened through several local sources as well, including the Detroit Film Theatre, Cinema Detroit and the Michigan Theater.