Thursday, May 29, 2014

A March Upon Me

We all learned about the Civil Rights movement, but our generation didn't live through it. We never had segregated bathrooms or restaurants that would take the money of one race and still not let them sit at the counter. However, just because we have never lived through THE Civil Rights Movement of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and so many others, it doesn't mean we haven't experienced the battles for Civil Rights first-hand. We watch the rights of one group or another trampled upon regularly, but what kind of person are each of us? Would you stand up against injustice? Or would you be a quiet bystander? Or would you fight to maintain the status quo?

Congressman John Lewis is no standard politician. He was part of the Civil Rights movement that led to the end of segregation in our country. In this simply amazing graphic novel, he tells his story of how life on a sharecropper's farm led to a life of freedom, movement, and justice in a world that didn't like the color of his skin. 

The story starts with a mother and her young boys entering Lewis' office to show the boys where their history started. Lewis, still in the office, begins to answer the boys questions and tells them how he came to be a part of the march on Washington, and how he left that farm in Alabama to serve a higher purpose. It is the first part of a truly inspiring story that I am waiting with bated breath to continue. I have known about John Lewis, but I don't think I could have asked for a better rendition of his life than we get with this story- it is full of history, anecdotes, real sentiments and emotions, and so much more.

The beauty of this graphic history is how it draws out the true nature of nonviolence. We have all known about nonviolent protest and how successful it has been in our history, but have you ever thought of how those people remained so passive and polite when they were being beaten for simply believing they had a right to sit at the local restaurants counter? Seeing this training they all went through was so hard to experience through these words and illustrations, it kept me talking about it for a long time after I was finished. Luckily, my husband had read the story before me and was a captive audience, because this book left a need to talk in me once I had finished. 

Do the people who did and said these awful things every regret their actions? The police who beat passive protestors, are they ashamed of their actions? How do they tell the story to their grandchildren? Do they tell them of how they brought their billy sticks down upon a legend like John Lewis? My husband and I talked about this story for hours, pondering the movement, the purpose of nonviolence, the people behind the fight for Civil Rights, and so much more. If we could be so captivated, I think anyone can. Whether you are a lover of graphic stories, history, strong leaders, or just a good story, this is one for you. Simply amazing, and I really hope the sequel is available soon, if for no other reason than to continue those amazing conversations I enjoyed so much!

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