March Trilogy: Book One

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"I don't need no money,

Fortune, or fame.

I've got all the riches, baby

Money can claim"

-- The Temptations, "My Girl," the song that was Number One on "Bloody Sunday," March 7, 1965

[Washington, January 20, 2009]

"'Hi...are you open?  We're from Atlanta and we've come for the Inauguration...I was bringing my boys here so they could see John Lewis' office.'

"'Of course, of course -- come on in.  Can I get you something to drink?  Coke, maybe some water?'

"'You -- you -- you're John Lewis!'

"'Yes.'

"Uh, well -- ummm I'm sorry to disturb you, I just, I mean we just -- Congressman Lewis, these are my two sons, Jacob and Esau.

"'Hello, it's very nice to meet you.  I'm John Lewis.  Would you like to see my office?'

"'Congressman Lewis, I can't believe you're here.  We stopped by because I wanted my boys to see their history -- I wanted them to know"

That's how far I made it -- page 18, and imagining what it felt like to be John Lewis on that unforgettable morning in 2009 -- before the tears began.  I'm simply blown away by MARCH: BOOK ONE, an incredibly powerful presentation of our history in graphic novel format, and a reminder of what I've lived through in my lifetime.  I am moved by the thought of getting to share this notable book with any number of young people so that they can know their country's all-too-recent history, too. 

I'd already heard word of how great MARCH: BOOK ONE is.  But nothing prepared me for how affecting it is

A glimpse of the onset of the 1965 police riot on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama -- Bloody Sunday -- serves here as the introduction to this graphic novel series co-authored by and about the life and times of Congressman Lewis, who is arguably America's greatest living hero.  Book One is the story of the young John Lewis. We learn of Lewis' education, both in and out of school, his young preaching, his learning of and coming to meet Dr. King for the first time; and his attempt to gain admittance to segregated Troy State.  His education in nonviolence leads up to the successful campaign in 1960 to desegregate department lunch counters throughout the South, in which John Lewis was involved as part of the Nashville Student Movement.

One of the really interesting aspects of Book One, something I didn't know, was the schism between generations in which Thurgood Marshall was part of the old guard and John Lewis was part of the future:

"Thurgood Marshall was a good man, but listening to him speak convinced me, more than ever, that our revolt was as much against the traditional black leadership structure as it was against segregation and discrimination."

128 pages  978-1-60309-300-2  Ages  12 and up

Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS Instructor, San Jose State University, California USA

 

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