Saturday, June 18, 2016

March, Book One (A Graphic Novel Quick Recap)

March (Book One) written by John Lewis

March is the personal historical narrative of Congressman John Lewis and his active participation in the civil rights movement. Book one covers Lewis’s childhood growing up in a family of sharecroppers in Alabama and shows how, from an early age, he demonstrated core values that would guide the rest of his life. The illustrated retelling of how he protected the farm chickens reflected his belief in nonviolence and respecting life; and when he defied his parents, escaping to school rather than helping at the farm, he asserted his commitment to education. Lewis continually proved himself to be a standout leader early on, preaching in his teens, connecting with Martin Luther King, Jr. as a college student, and co-founding and chairing the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The book depicts Lewis’s involvement in organizing peaceful sit-ins in Nashville, which were sadly met with violence portrayed through menacingly dark hues in the comic, and how Lewis remained courageously steadfast in his commitment to establishing equal rights. While I am familiar with the most commonly told stories of the civil rights movement such as Little Rock, Dr. King, and Rosa Parks, it was refreshing to revisit the period both in a graphic novel medium and from Lewis’s perspective since he was integrally involved, but is not always highlighted. His story reminds me how the movement truly required the concerted efforts of many people, not just a few individuals, and this is important to keep in mind when attempting to affect change in the present.

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