Representative John Lewis‘ son, John-Miles Lewis, was adopted at only 2 months of age. His dad taught him the importance of learning from the past, and John-Miles Lewis took his dad’s passion and put that into hip hop. In February, John Lewis was honored at the NAACP Image Awards. On July 17, 2020, John Lewis passed away at the age of 80 after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2019.
Here’s what you need to know about his son, John-Miles Lewis:
1. John Lewis Said He Fell in Love With His Son the First Time He Saw Him
John-Miles Lewis shared both his father’s name and his mother’s maiden name. His mother, born Lillian Miles, was working as a librarian at Atlanta University when she and John Lewis first met at a party in 1967, Atlanta Magazine reported.
John and Lillian Lewis only had one child: their adopted son John-Miles Lewis. John and Lillian Lewis adopted John-Miles in 1976 when he was just 2 months old. John Lewis said he fell in love with his son the very first time he saw him.
John-Miles Lewis has been part of the ceremonies honoring his father. He was presented with a street sign for Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C., the last place where his father made a public appearance, ABC 11 reported.
2. John-Miles Lewis Grew Up in the ’80s, Seeing Documentaries About His Dad
John-Miles Lewis said he grew up seeing a lot of documentaries from the 1960s about his dad taking part in protests and sit-ins, The Washington Post reported. Growing up in the 1980s, he experienced a very different world from what his dad knew when he was growing up.
You can see a picture of John-Miles Lewis as a little boy on page 34 of “John Lewis: Courage in Action” here.
3. His Dad Often Talked About the Importance of Learning From the Past
John-Miles Lewis once said that his dad often stressed to him the importance of the past.
“He always tried to instill in me what the past really meant and how much the past affects now,” he told The Washington Post.
In the “Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States,” Bill Clinton talked about his relationship with John Lewis and Lewis’ family, including Lewis’ son.
Clinton said: “It’s amazing how quickly time passes. I was looking at John-Miles Lewis talking about his daddy. … Lillian and John and John-Miles and I were standing up there getting our picture taken. And John was playing his daddy role, and he said, ‘I don’t know about that hair.’ I said, ‘John, let’s don’t act like we’re old…’ I said, ‘If I was 23 and I could have hair like that, I’d do it in a bird-dog minute.'”
4. John-Miles Lewis Performed & Sang Hip Hop in the Early 2000s
John-Miles Lewis once said that hip-hop was his “political outlet,” The Washington Post reported. He’s inspired by his dad, Malcolm X and Mahatma Gandhi.
He’s taken a different career track than his father. A 2004 story in The Washington Post revealed that his career was music-focused and that he wrote and performed hip hop. In fact, he wrote his first song in third grade. He said his dad didn’t get on board with his career of choice until he heard a song his son wrote called “Political Behavior.” John-Miles Lewis said the song was about his dad’s and his friends’ pasts and the political movement they were involved in.
John Lewis told The Washington Post that he supported his son’s career as long as he was “helping sensitize and educate his generation.”
5. John-Miles Lewis Said He Wasn’t Ruling Out the Idea of Someday Being in Politics Himself
John-Miles Lewis told The Washington Post in 2004 that he wasn’t against the idea of being in politics one day himself, but it wouldn’t happen until he was at least in his 30s or 40s.
You can see a picture of John-Miles Lewis celebrating his dads’ 60th birthday here.
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