I first became aware of the March graphic novel series when book three won the National Book Award. After doing a little research and reading about John Lewis the amazing man who's life these books chronical I knew that I had to read them. I was in Powell's in Portland and found that a box set had been released and I picked it up immediately (linked in the photo above if you are interested).
A few things became shockingly real to me as I read through these ..... 1. I knew very little about the Civil Rights Movement in America. These novels educated me more than anything I have read in a long time. 2. John Lewis is an example that great men and women exist in this world. I consider myself a good person .... but I am in awe of people that are selfless and giving to everyone around them. Mr. Lewis makes me wish I was a better person.
But the thing that these novels did most for me is make me realize how little the world has really changed. I was horrified to read of the awful brutality placed upon the peaceful protestors trying to get the equal rights they deserved. But the really scary realization for me was that as I read about these points in history was that I kept seeing the news items that have dominated our headlines. Has the world we live in changed so little? After finishing these books - I am afraid to say Yes.
These graphic novels are not a fast read - there is a lot of history here. Chronicling the development of the Civil Rights Movement takes time and education. As I said, there was a lot I did not know and I think a lot of people who read these will find themselves in the same place. But Mr. Lewis is so engaging .... and his story so compelling that I wanted to learn the history. Mr. Lewis knew and admired a lot of people - Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcom X and Obama himself all make cameos in these books. He also taught me a lot about Lyndon B. Johnson - and his reluctant conversation to the movement. Mr. Lewis is also never vindictive to those that oppressed the movement, beat him or those he cared for. His message of non-violance is impressive, empowering and awe inspiring.
March is one of the most powerful pieces of literature I have every read. I want to give it to everyone I know. I have never experienced anything that has taught me as much as this did, nor made me feel as much either. Please read this book.
Rating: 5 books