Wednesday, December 7, 2016
March (Books 1,2,& 3) by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Our perception of the fifty-odd years between Lewis’ childhood and Obama’s inauguration changes as we read, sometimes thinking fifty years sounds like a long time, and then realizing it’s only fifty years. How radically different living conditions were then, outside of cities. Blacks were still being blatantly discriminated against in every way, and the first civil rights legislation was just being proposed, passed, and enacted. This is the story of the resistance.
Lewis and the man whose delivery of nonviolent “social gospel” which influenced his own speeches, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., helped to hold back the swelling tide of violent resistance long enough to celebrate national recognition for their efforts culminating in the Civil Rights legislation of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Lewis had a front-row seat to all that was going on in the south and in Washington. He was head of Student NonViolent Coordinating Committee and as the youngest of the “Big Six,” representatives of the most impactful civil rights organizations, he met with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Lewis has a story to tell, and in this collaboration with two younger men, show us how momentous his contribution.
The whole trilogy is a focused and detailed look at the Civil Rights movement from the point of view of John Lewis for approximately a ten-year period 1955-1965. The encapsulation of a real life into a series of picture frames and dialog boxes is a difficult thing to pull off, but Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell do it beautifully, never talking down to the reader, nor reaching so high that the concepts can’t be grasped immediately, viscerally even. This is life and death stuff, and they leave a little of the horror in for us to contemplate, but the steady focus and preparation necessary to challenge political power comes across as well. As does the bravery of those who dared to resist.
Get this trilogy if you have teens. This is worthy.
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