Outstanding! The March trilogy provides a moving and engaging account of the civil rights movement through the eyes of a man who was there. John Lewis, now a congressman in the United States government, was one of the "big six", six individuals who played a key role in changing policy and practice regarding African-Americans. Each of these graphic novels is narrated from his perspective, and although he often refers to other persons and aspects of the movement, it is his experiences which form the core of the narrative. He begins his account from his initiation into the movement, and steadily moves through his involvement in the Freedom Rides, the march on Washington, Bloody Sunday, and more. While the facts are informative and interesting, it is John Lewis' candid discussion of his feelings, reasons, and reactions to events that really pulls us in. These parts just call out to the humanity in us all. Artist Powell walks a fine line with his dramatic black and white illustrations: he uses shadow and light to build tension and capitalize on emotional notes; without reducing people into complete caricatures, they can be "read" at a glance; and, moments of violence are brisk and don't pull their punches, but they are never especially bloody. John Lewis as a person is conveyed in both word and art. He is passionate about equal rights for all, is committed to a philosophy of nonviolence, and he is an intelligent and decent man. He tries to avoid painting any one person in black or white, pointing to a flawed system that has perpetuated the creation of flawed individuals. Even people from the movement, people with good intentions, took roads that he didn't agree with. March is not meant to be a definitive, unbiased look at the civil rights movement, but it does something that a history textbook cannot. It draws you into events past, it makes you feel the struggle, the determination, the solidarity, the need to have their rights affirmed. For that reason, and its overall excellence in quality, this should be required reading in school, and a must read for everyone else.

forbesrachel's rating:
[]
[]
To Top