John Lewis
Credit: Mark Humphrey/AP

John Lewis - Get in the Way

Congressman John Lewis’ life story is heading to the small screen in John Lewis — Get in the Way, a new documentary biography, PBS and Georgia Public Broadcasting announced Tuesday.

The documentary is set to premiere Friday, Feb. 10 — less than a month after his feud with President-elect Donald Trump erupted last week — and will highlight Lewis’ rise to power, from his humble beginnings as the son of sharecroppers to cementing his place in U.S. history as a civil rights activist. Lewis’ arrest, jail time, and assaults in the ’60s eventually helped lead to the Voting Rights Act, and he has been a member of Congress since 1986.

The documentary, produced and directed by Kathleen Dowdey, will span more than 50 years of Lewis’ life, and will feature never-before-seen interviews with Lewis, fellow civil rights activists Andrew Young and Juanita Abernathy, and congressional colleagues like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Footage for the film, which PBS said will be the first documentary biography about Lewis, was shot over 20 years.

“Through the years, we’ve shared the stories of many of the movement’s greatest heroes with Georgia ties, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Andrew Young,” Georgia Public Broadcasting President and CEO Teya Ryan said in a statement. “We are thrilled to bring a film that so eloquently captures the legacy of John Lewis to a national audience through PBS.”


The news of the film comes after the congressman announced on Meet the Press that he would not be attending Trump’s inauguration, as he didn’t view Trump as a “legitimate president” due to Russian interference in the election. Trump accused Lewis of being “all talk” and “no action or results,” which led to an outpouring of support for Lewis, and even sent his books to the top of Amazon’s charts. Late night hosts Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, and Seth Meyers have all defended Lewis as well.

The film will air as part of a line-up of Black History Month programming on Friday, Feb. 10 at 10:30 p.m. ET on PBS.

John Lewis - Get in the Way
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