Comic and Graphic Books. History. African American Nonfiction. Young Adult Nonfiction. HTML: After the success of the Nashville sit-in movement, John Lewis' commitment to change through nonviolence is stronger than ever â?? but as he and his fellow Freedom Riders board a bus into the vicious heart of the deep south, they will be tested like never before. Faced with beatings, police brutality, imprisonment, arson, and even murder, the movement's young activists place their lives on the line while internal conflicts threaten to tear them apart.But their courage will attract the notice of powerful allies, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy... and once Lewis is elected chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, this 23-year-old will be thrust into the national spotlight, becoming one of the "Big Six" leaders of the civil rights movement and a central figure in the landmark 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
The text was hard to read and the pictures harder to look at. The artist Nate Powell eerily captures the mad glee of a waitress who dumps a box of soap flakes over the heads of black customers, sprays them with a fire hose, and turns of up the air conditioner; the learned hatred on a boy's face as he kicks and punches, at his father's urging, a downed Freedom Rider; and the cold cruelty of "Bull" Connor as he fire hoses and sets vicious dogs on marching black children.
Lewis and his colleagues are beaten and jailed several times (I loved the "mattress wars" in jail); their buses fire-bombed, and field workers murdered; but they gained national attention as images of the brutal repression showed up in everyone's living rooms on the nightly news. These years are a crucial turning point because they also gained the attention of the new President John Kennedy and his Attorney General Robert Kennedy. The leaders of the movement were invited to the White House and counseled, again, to "slow down and be patient." Their response? The March on Washington.
Sprinkled throughout the narrative are insights into how the various organizations involved in the movement got along or didn't, as well as some of the internal frictions within the organizations, but the focus is on the overall goal of the movement and their successful use of non-violence. The book ends with the bombing of a church and the cries of frantic parents looking for their children in the rubble. On to Book Three.
John Lewis continues his story of the civil rights struggle. He details being a freedom rider on segregated
It's amazing the impact these books have. I believe they should be required reading in schools throughout the U.S.
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It drags a little, as middle volumes of trilogies tend to do. This is a
I'm beginning to think these books may be one of the most important resources I've seen for learning about the civil rights movement. The sad fact is that history is very difficult to connect with if you haven't had some kind of personal experience, and you need to be able to connect with it if it's ever going to be more than names and dates on a page. I watched Dr. King's speech more than once in school, but when you hear the same words over and over again, see the same images, and never get beyond that, it all kind of loses meaning. You see him as a historical figure, not a real person, and you don't get any sense of the struggle and pain and fear and hopeâyou just hear some nice words and maybe you even think, "Well, I'm glad that all worked out."
In these books, you get to follow along and actually see it as if you were there. And because John Lewis was one of the prominent figures of the time, you see a lot of the big moments from the inside. He makes a point, I think, of mentioning other important figuresâeven to the extent that those mentions seem a little randomâjust because we need to know who they are. And, although he skips the fact that female leaders of the movement were excluded from the March on Washington, he does mention them frequently throughout the story. Which I realize sounds like undeserved feminist cookies, because they were there, so why wouldn't he mention them? But even so, I was glad every time I saw one of their names.
Of course we can't expect that these books cover every detail of an entire national movement, and I'm sure that there are other important men missing as well as women. But based on my admittedly non-expert knowledge thus far, I think Congressman Lewis has given us a lot to go on. I can't wait for the third book to come out.
His story inspires and offers insight into the strength, danger, and dedication to the cause shown by those who worked to fight for change.
I didn't know much about the
This volume closes on a historic moment. The March on Washington in August of 1963 and the world famous âI Have A Dream Speechâ by Martin Luther King. This day brought real progress to the Civil Rights Movement and saw the various groups come together to unite and put aside their differences in order to show America and the world that equality and freedom was an issue that could no longer be ignored or set aside.
Ominously, the book closes with the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on September 1, 1963. The March is far from over.
This is another engrossing, important, and harrowing read. I sometimes had a hard time
In Book #1, Rep. John Lewis begins his story with the inauguration of President Barack Obama. That plot line continues in this book, but whereas in Book #1 it was frequently mentioned, in Book #2, it's not mentioned that often. It's used to underscore the contrast between the trying times of Lewis's youth in the civil rights struggle, and the hope present at the inauguration. In this way, the reader has a clearer understanding of how remarkable President Obama's election was, and all the pain, violence and sacrifice that it took to get there.
I'm beginning to develop the opinion that every human who is engaged in the struggle for equality should read this series. We have much to learn from the struggle for civil rights. It's not over. I am glad to see that this is now required reading in NYC high schools. I think that's pretty awesome! Young people especially need to hear the message of non-violence, and how much can be accomplished by a group of people working toward a common goal. This series also shows how difficult it was to maintain unity in the civil rights movement, and how it became fractured, but still maintained its power, and its momentum.
With moments from January 20, 2009 serving as highlights for the tremendous upheaval of the early 1960s, this poignant memoir reminds us of how much civil rights activists were willing to sacrifice to ensure equality and freedom. Given where we are today, so different from that cold but glorious day in January 2009, it's also a call to action. What am I willing to sacrifice in order to ensure justice? It's a question worth asking.
On a personal note, I'll just mention how incredibly disturbing it was to see that our current residency (Albany, GA) was mentioned by name in Lewis' speech that he gave during the March on Washington. This is not Birmingham, or Memphis, or Jackson, and yet there we are.
Highly recommended. Really, what are you waiting for?
This is the second in a trilogy of graphic memoirs detailing the Civil Rights Movement and early career of U.S. Representative John Lewis.
Lewis gives the reader a good chronology of the movement in 1961, focusing on the Freedom Riders and culminating in Dr Martin Luther
I lived through this era. I remember hearing about the Freedom Riders, the marches, the brutally violent responses by police forces against peaceful protestors, etc, but I was nine years old when John F Kennedy was elected; I didnât live in any of the states where the protests were being held, and like most 4th-graders I wasnât too focused on national news.
Iâm glad to have read this now, however. Lewisâs experiences really bring the message home. I was near tears towards the end.
I applaud Lewis and his collaborators, co-author Andrew Aydin and illustrator Nate Powell, for bringing this era in Americaâs history to the attention of young readers. Providing this information in this format makes it more accessible to a young audience, and itâs important that they learn about this episode in our nationâs history. However, for me (and my old eyes), the format is somewhat problematic. Dark illustrations are not friendly to my eyes.
âMarch: Book 1â starts with Lewisâs childhood as the son of a sharecropper in rural Alabama and goes through the Lunch Counter Protests in Nashville. From a young age Lewis had a drive and a passion to lead and learn, his early aspirations of being a preacher evolving into the leadership and commitment that he put forth while in the Nashville Student Movement, and then into the broader Civil Rights Movement as a whole. âMarch: Book 2â talks about his time with the Freedom Riders and the violence they faced during their non violent protests and demonstrations, all leading up to the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.âs âI Have A Dreamâ speech. This book deals more with the growing aggression of the white citizens and government, as well as the Federal Government starting to waffle and teeter and struggle with the role that it should be playing. Itâs also the book that shows Lewis and his own inner struggles, as while non violence is always the mission and the goal, his resentment and anger threatens to boil over. âMarch: Book 3â is the conclusion, and addresses Freedom Summer, Voting Rights, and Selma. And this story is told all within the frame of the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. Stunning framework, absolutely beautiful. There are multiple parallels between things in âBook 1â that come up again in âBook 3â, and there are themes that link all of them together not just with Lewis, but with other prominent figures as well. Lewis sets out to tell all of their stories as best he can, and the result is one of the best damn graphic novel series I have ever read.
This series is so powerful and personal, and it goes to show just how remarkable John Lewis is. Heâs one of the âBig Sixâ, aka one of the most influential members of the Civil Rights Movement, and one of the only ones left, as he reminds us in âBook 1â. These books are very straight forward and simple, but they are so honest and personal that the power they have is immense. I found myself crying many times during my reads of all these books, but also laughing, and cheering, and seething. Lewis brought out so many emotions in me with his story, and his immense talent as a storyteller comes through, just as his charisma does. We get to see the story of the Civil Rights Movement through his eyes, and he tells us the stories of those involved within the movement and those who influenced it from the outside as well. Yes, at times these books are violent, and upsetting, but they need to be, because the horrors that fell upon many people during their non violent protests must never be forgotten. I think that the entirety is an accomplishment, but I understand why they gave the National Book Award to âBook 3â. After all, while it is probably symbolic of awarding the whole darn thing, I think that âBook 3â was the most powerful in terms of emotion being served, be it pride, fear, rage, or determination. It certainly was the one that had me weeping from the get go, as the very first moment was the bombing of the 16th Baptist Church that killed four little girls. The violence is absolutely horrifying, but it cannot be forgotten or glossed over. It absolutely cannot. âMarch: Book 3â also was the one to really address the differences of ideologies within the movement as a whole, not just between King and X, but Lewis and SNCC as well. And Lewis also has no qualms addressing the fact that LBJ, while he did ultimately get things going on a Federal level, was incredibly reluctant to do much in terms of help until he absolutely HAD to. I think that realities get lost in the historical narratives that come in our educations, and that is absolutely why the âMarchâ Trilogy is fundamental reading when it comes to the Civil Rights Movement in this country.
And, like other graphic novels before it, I want to address the artwork in this series. Because it is beautiful in itâs simplicity, and yet powerful in itâs design. Itâs all black and white, and stark and striking on every page. Nate Powell brings the story to life on the page, and he did it both with bits of humor to go along with the hope, horror, and courage. There were bits of realism to accompany the distinct style, but it always felt very tangible and very authentic. As I mentioned before, the illustrations do not gloss over the violence that was prevalent during the time, and while it certainly is disturbing, itâs done in a way that could never be dismissed as exploitative or âover the topâ. It is incredibly honest and upsetting, but it needs to be. The reader needs to be upset and outraged by it. Because it IS upsetting, and it is outrageous.
I cannot stress enough how important the âMarchâTrilogy is in these uncertain and scary times. John Lewis is a treasure and an inspiration, and I feel that this is required reading. Get this in schools, get this in curriculums, get this in peoples hands. And you, you should likewise go out and get your hands on this series. You will not regret it. You will learn something. And you will be moved. Thank you, John Lewis. Thank you for so much.
In a nutshell: This is the second of three graphic novels about the life of John Lewis. It covers the early 60s, focusing on the Freedom Rides and the March on
Line that sticks with me: âWe found out later that [Birmingham Police Chief âBullâ Connor] had promised the Ku Klux Klan fifteen minutes with the bus before heâd make any arrests.â
Why I chose it: I really enjoyed book one and wanted to read the next part of the story.
Review: After I finished this book, I took a minute to wander over to Facebook and was greeted by a whole lot of crap being posted on the Pajiba article about Rob Schneiderâs ignorant statement about Congressman Lewis and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It clearly was shared in some cesspool connected to the white supremacist movement, and it brought out some of the worst our country has to offer.
After finishing this book, I have no doubt that some of these same commenters would have thrown rocks and bottles at the Freedom Riders if they had been nearby. The same ones who claim that MLK âwonâ civil rights, and that âreverseâ racism is the real problem, talk as though they would have supported the fight for integration and equal rights. But I see in them the people Congressman Lewis is talking about, who beat peaceful protestors sitting at lunch counters or who scoffed at those marching on Washington D.C. I see in them the same people who were angry that Black people were trying to buy tickets to see a movie in the whites-only theater, as opposed to the people who should have been angry that a whites-only theater even existed. I think I used to buy into the idea that racism would fade away as the old racist whites died off, but the last few months have shown me â a bit late, I know â that the old racist whites are being replaced by young racist whites who are just champing at the bit to spit in the faces of people seeking the equal rights that this country is still denying to so many.
This book was harder to read than Book One, but I also think it was a bit better. In discussing the freedom rides and other actions, it really gets into the discussions and disagreement that can arise when movements have the same goal but different methods. I think it is naĂŻve to believe that everyone who is ostensibly fighting for the same causes and outcomes will agree on how to do that, and itâs inappropriate to judge the efficacy of a movement just because not everyone agrees on how to act.
This graphic novel series recounts civil rights leader and US Representative John Lewis' childhood and involvement in the civil rights movement, from restaurant sit-ins in Nashville all the way to Selma and the passage of the 1965 Voting
The courage these people had, it takes my breath away. To know you could be jailed, beaten, or killed. To have your compatriots murdered worked with your cause and for your organization. To face government and police and county registrars actively, loudly, and proudly - and unlawfully - refusing to allow you to register to vote, to peacefully assemble; who would stop at nothing to prevent having to share power. In the face of that, to stand up again and again to march and protest, all for the right to vote. These folks are American heroes.
Using the graphic format - stark black and white - was powerful. The artist did an amazing job. An example: the bleak night-of-the-soul moments, where text was white against a mostly black page, the words dripping away into silence. Or the showing the movement of an arm holding a billy club arcing across the page - linear format fallen by the wayside - as it descended towards someone's head.
I was especially moved by stories around the passage of the Voting Rights Act in volume 3 and the quotes from President Johnson's speeches of the time. (This was also my reaction to the movie Selma; also highly recommended). The right to vote, the ability to vote, is the true cornerstone of democracy. African-Americans had that legal right in the US for 100 years at the time of the Civil Rights movement, but most did not have the ability, and systemic forces were bent on keeping that racist status quo for 100 years.
So far we've come and also so far back we've slid. The fierce fight for the right to vote - that people gave their lives for - that right has been chipped away at in so many states (and so many from the South!) that want to suppress some categories of voters, and by the Supreme Court as well. Those 100 years of Jim Crow and voter suppression live on in new waves of voter intimidation and disenfranchisement. And, just like elections when people of color were prevented from registering to vote, elections today are putting people who historically had a lot of power into elected office and silencing the voice of true democracy.
This trilogy is a great way to learn about - or teach - this important part of American history, and the lessons it has for us today.