March: Book Three
By Fall 1963, the Civil Rights Movement is an undeniable keystone of the national conversation, and as chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, John Lewis is right in the thick of it. With the stakes continuing to rise, white supremacists intensify their opposition through government obstruction and civilian terrorist attacks, a supportive president is assassinated, and African-Americans across the South are still blatantly prohibited from voting. To carry out their nonviolent revolution, Lewis and an army of young activists launch a series of innovative projects, including the Freedom Vote, Mississippi Freedom Summer, and a pitched battle for the soul of the Democratic Party waged live on national television. But strategic disputes are deepening within the movement, even as 25-year-old John Lewis heads to Alabama to risk everything in a historic showdown that will shock the world.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
An iBooks Best of 2016 pick. We cried during Congressman John Lewis’ emotional speech accepting the 2016 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for this graphic novel, which he cowrote with Andrew Aydin with illustrations by Nate Powell. March: Book Three continues the story of the civil rights leader’s extraordinary life and opens with the Birmingham church bombing in 1963. The book makes a harrowing historical story accessible to a new, wide audience. During his award ceremony remarks, Lewis shared the story of “a wonderful teacher in elementary school” who told him, “Read, my child, read." This beautiful, important book offers a similar invitation to young readers.
The final volume of congressman and civil rights crusader Lewis's memoir, produced with cowriter Aydin, gives a perfect balance of clarity and passion, drawing readers into the emotions of civil rights struggles, while carefully providing context and information, as well as empathy, even for the worst of the movement's foes. Beginning with the church bombing at Birmingham, Ala.; moving through the blood-soaked years from 1963 to 1965; and ending with the signing of the Voting Rights Act, Lewis's on-the-ground viewpoint puts many human faces on the historic battles. The narrative reveals the real work of revolution, focusing not just on the well-known events but the behind-the-scenes decision making, compromises, personal battles, sacrifices, and overall political landscape. It's a dense and informative work propelled by Powell's fluid layouts and vivid depictions of violence and emotion, as well as a personal passion that helps make this memoir timely and relevant, drawing a straight line between decades to compare the modern iterations of a struggle that still continues.