Finished the MARCH Trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. I read this on Inauguration Day for #READOUT.
MARCH #1 tells the beginning of John Lewis’ story, from preaching to his chickens as a boy to his love for education to developing a social conscience and participating in sit-ins. This story would be inspiring at any time, but it’s great to read it today (on what I think will prove to be a very dark day in our country’s history). There is always evil and sometimes it’s popular. But there are also always people committed to fighting that evil. We are so lucky to have John Lewis. I wish I had a tenth of his courage.
MARCH Book Two starts with the Freedom Riders and ends with the bombing of the church in Birmingham that left the little girls dead. Powerfully (like the first book), it also flashes forward to President Obama’s inauguration.
The sit-ins discussed in the first book were scary to see but the violence directed at the Freedom Riders is horrifying. It’s awful to see all the hate directed at people just for wanting equality. At the same time, it’s wonderful to see how committed people were to fighting for what was right. And it was great to see how people’s minds were slowly changed, even though they were changed only because of horrific events like children arrested, injured by firehoses or attacked by dogs.
I don’t know if I could face what they went through without fighting back. This trilogy makes it so clear that these people are heroes. I hope we have similar heroes now.
MARCH Book Three centers on securing the right to vote and ends with the march in Selma. The attempted march is the one where John Lewis was nearly fatally beaten. This also deals with the deaths of the three civil rights workers–it shows the very real stakes and the way that things escalated.
This trilogy is perfect for people who want to read graphic novels but are worried about it. The narrative is easy to follow and the illustrations make everything all too real. We like to think that this country has always been heroic but it’s not true. And this is not the distant past, either–we all have relatives who remember this.