March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and artist Nate Powell is the third graphic memoir in the trilogy of John Lewis’ time in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Lewis has had a number of close calls throughout the movement, and he has lost a number of friends and colleagues to the violence. And although he does have moments in which he breaks down emotionally, his faith in a nonviolent movement remains strong and propels him through some tough times and disagreements with his fellow Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) members and leaders.
One of the most ironic parts of the book recounts events at the 1964 Republican National Conventions in which Nelson Rockefeller warned the party of Lincoln that it needed to stand up against a growing subversive influence of conservative extremists, who were becoming a “radical, well-financed, and highly disciplined minority” within the party. Given the current state of our government and the path it is headed toward, these statements seem to have been ignored by the Republican party as far back as 1964.
The final book concludes with the march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., and the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Lewis and many of those in the movement, young and old, knew that there were different tactics that could have been used to achieve their goals, but they strove to maintain respect and work within the confines of the system to have their voices heard. There were others who did other things, but the focus of these books has been on the power of a people standing together no matter their personal differences or their different philosophies to achieve something for the greater good. In many ways, the movement itself symbolizes the freedom America stands for.
March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and artist Nate Powell is gripping, emotional, and inspiring. It should broaden the appeal of history to younger generations — those who have not had to march in the streets. It stands as a testament to all the lives lost during the movement and the good that came be achieved when we come together as a people — as Americans — no matter our color, religion, or beliefs. Struggle continues, but together we can overcome anything.
About the Author:
John Robert Lewis is the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district, serving since 1987 and is the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. He was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), playing a key role in the struggle to end segregation. He is a member of the Democratic Party and is one of the most liberal legislators.