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March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 246 pgs.
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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.

RATING: Cinquain

Other Reviews:

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.

March: Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 189 pgs.
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***If you missed my review for March: Book One, this review could contain spoilers.***

March: Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and artist Nate Powell is the second part of John Lewis’ graphic memoir that shifts from the Civil Rights movement in 1960-63 to 2009 when President Barack Obama is inaugurated — the first black President of the United States. The backdrop helps to frame the entire movement and its struggle — a struggle that continues to this day as discrimination continues, though in more camouflaged ways.

Lewis pulls no punches in this one, and as part of a civil disobedience movement that adheres to a philosophy of nonviolence in protest, he faces beatings, arrests, and more. One stroke of luck most likely saved his very life, though many of his other colleagues were either killed or harmed most profoundly. Powell’s artistry is sharp and detailed. This only adds to the dark events that face these young black men and women, and their white colleagues. Espousing love in the midst of violent actions by others takes great resolve and will power, though there are some who falter.

March: Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and illustrated by Nate Powell would complement any course on the civil rights movement, offering a first-hand account of the violence and hatred that permeated much of the south. It also stands as a testament to the power of love and peaceful protect in large numbers. Lewis’ books could make excellent book club selections.

RATING: Cinquain

Other Reviews:

March: Book One

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.

March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and artist Nate Powell

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 128 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and artist Nate Powell, won the National Book Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award – Special Recognition. This graphic memoir blends the appeal of graphic novels with the history lived by one of our greatest civil rights movement members and leaders. Lewis tells his story through flashbacks and stories told to others, mirroring the oral tradition of many who have come before us. Each story offers a compelling narrative of life at the beginning of the movement and the drive to overcome a system meant to oppress.

Lewis is not just retelling his past to offer a lesson for the future, but he’s providing a framework for those in today’s society looking for ways to improve America for themselves and others. He sees chickens not as objects, but as individuals with their own emotions and goals. Lewis then has to confront his lack of emotional attachment when chickens are available for purchase and he does not have to care for them as he did on the farm. In many ways, this is how we view strangers — while we know they are individuals and human, we are distant from them because we fail to interact with them and get to know them — to build connections.

He talks of kindness and a need to help others learn to connect with one another and to become kinder. Lewis, however, never glosses over the violence or the hatred he experienced and the chances he took. Powell’s artistry is vivid even in black-and-white and readers will see the fear pour off in sweat. They will face the ugliness of hatred manifest in beatings and more.  March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and artist Nate Powell is a graphic memoir and more — it is history, it is humanity, and it is a powerful reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we have stepped backward.

RATING: Cinquain

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.