Cathy G.'s Book Posts
Comic recommendations for young readers, educators and librarians.
March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydan + Nate Powell, 246 pages, Top Shelf Productions, 2016
Intro: A historical graphic novel and memoir of John Lewis and the Civil Rights movement in the United States between the years 1963 - 65. Lewis' account is woven throughout historical events of the time. In collaboration with Andrew Aydan's writing and Nate Powell's images.
Story Summary: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a piece of federal legislation that prohibits racial discrimination in voting in the US. We have heard about the hard work of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, but there were thousands of people involved in the resistance that lead to its passing. March: Book Three is an exciting account of the historical events from the new and personal perspective of current US Representative John Lewis, who was a young man working hard to fight for equal rights in this country in the 1960's, a fight he continues to this day.
Theme 1: How History is Made. Throughout the course of March: Book Three, there are many lesser-known historical events that support the larger events we usually hear about. March addresses how history is made: thousands of people working together, discussing and disagreeing with each other. While our History classes distill these events to essential elements, March brings the multi-layered complexity of history to the forefront and shows us that making history is not as linear and simple as our textbooks make it out to be.
Theme 2: Civil Rights in America. March: Book Three offers a close look at moments in the fight for civil rights, and is jam-packed with conversations, events, and historical figures. It also closely addresses how difficult and frightening resistance was for people at that time, showing the struggle to stay positive and continue fighting. It is an inspirational account that is relevant to the continued fight for equality in America.
Theme 3: Police Brutality. 1,154 people were killed by police in 2016. Police brutality has been an on-going endemic problem since the beginning of policing in the United States:
The institution of slavery and the control of minorities, however, were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing. Slave patrols and Night Watches, which later became modern police departments, were both designed to control the behaviors of minorities. -Victor E. Kappeler, Ph.D.
Non-violent resistance is a significant aspect of what is taught from the 60's Civil Rights era, but what is often overlooked is the horrible violence that protestors faced. March: Book Three depicts the continuous violence that peaceful protestors faced time and time again at the hands of the police. While it can be difficult to read, knowing history can contextualize modern events of police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Should I Read It?: If you are interested in learning more about the history of the United States, this book is a fantastic and empathetic way of experiencing it. Events take place at a fast clip, so be prepared to look up names you may not know! This book covers a lot of ground in an entertaining way, and is great for anyone who is looking to learn more about civil rights and police brutality. It also offers a new viewpoint for readers who may already know a lot about this history.