Author: John Lewis, Nate Powell, Andrew Aydin
Genre: Adult, Biography, Contemporary, Graphic Novel
Rating: ★★★★ (4.5)
I’d like to say I know a lot about the 1960’s civil rights movement in America whether in my history textbook or in class. And maybe I do. But I don’t know what it’s really like. It’s like when you’re watching a horror movie and you laugh or scream and you are generally relieved you are not in this horrible situation but at the same time, you think you know how you would react in the situation, but you might not know. March is like a reincarnation of my history textbook but with more impact.
I love the immediacy that Lewis portrays in this book. For better or worse, you feel as though you are there. And because of that, you get to not just see but experience the everyday struggles and triumphs that African Americans had to go through making the emotional impact that much greater. It’s a memoir so a lot of the events that happened were ones that he actively participated in such as the bus boycotts and the sit-ins. One example of what I mean is that people held workshops to train people for the sit-in protests and they had to imitate real-life situations that might happen to them while they are peacefully protesting many of them involving violence and cruel verbal attacks. It was hard to see that there existed a workshop designed to train people to endure abuse just so they can have rights that people took for granted.
The entire novel is drawn in black and white and also goes back and forth between past and present as the story is told by John Lewis in the present looking back on his past from the time he was a little kid. I think this storytelling style is effective for this type of story as the events seem like they might be in the past but you think about where we are now and some recent events that have passed like the church massacre and you can see that the past is not yet in the past. I recommend this story not only for the story of the first count eyewitness of these events but to the nonviolent philosophy that continues to be relevant to this day.