Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
Illustrator: Nate Powell
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
By 1963, the Civil Rights movement had many supporters, but it still had a long way to go before finally achieving the magnitude of change that its fighters were seeking. Support was split up into different activist groups which all had the same ultimate goal of equality, but had different ideas about how to achieve that goal. John Lewis served as Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during these pivotal years. Amidst mounting tension between various Civil Rights groups, empty promises for change from the White House, and continued violence at the hands of local authorities, Lewis was forced to make tough decisions that would accomplish change most efficiently. Using nonviolent tactics, Lewis and his student activists planned and participated in the Freedom Vote, Mississippi Freedom Summer, and other demonstrations in the American south to promote change. Even with the threat of violence and death, Lewis and other activists saw the profound importance of their movement and believed in it enough to continue on even when all seemed hopeless.
March: Book Three is the third in a series of three graphic novels that chronicle the efforts of John Lewis and his associates during the Civil Rights era. Though the events of the three books do happen in chronological order, reading the first two books is not necessary before reading this book. It could easily stand on its own, though reading the first two books would likely provide better context for the events of the third. In March: Book Three, a racial slur for African American people is frequently used, always in a derogatory way. However, this word is not used for shock value but rather as a legitimate part of Lewis’ memory of these events. As this is a historical, factual work, the word is used to paint an accurate picture of the heated environment during this time. Artistically, the work is extremely detailed and captures the emotional weight of these events. As a result, some of the art, though not especially graphic, is high in intensity and could be upsetting to more sensitive viewers.
*Contains moderate language and mild violence.