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March #2

March: Book Two

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The #1 New York Times bestselling series continues! Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, continues his award-winning graphic novel trilogy with co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell, inspired by a 1950s comic book that helped prepare his own generation to join the struggle. Now, March brings the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today's world.

After the success of the Nashville sit-in campaign, John Lewis is more committed than ever to changing the world through nonviolence - but as he and his fellow Freedom Riders board a bus into the vicious heart of the deep south, they will be tested like never before.

Faced with beatings, police brutality, imprisonment, arson, and even murder, the young activists of the movement struggle with internal conflicts as well. But their courage will attract the notice of powerful allies, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy... and once Lewis is elected chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, this 23-year-old will be thrust into the national spotlight, becoming one of the "Big Six" leaders of the civil rights movement and a central figure in the landmark 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

192 pages, Paperback

First published January 20, 2015

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About the author

John Lewis

13 books858 followers
John Robert Lewis was the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, serving since 1987 and was the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. He was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), playing a key role in the struggle to end segregation. He was a member of the Democratic Party and was one of the most liberal legislators.

Barack Obama honoured Lewis with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and they marched hand in hand in Selma on the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday attack (March 7, 1965).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,660 reviews
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book82k followers
July 18, 2020

This second volume in the graphic biography of civil rights stalwart John Lewis begins with the Freedom Riders and Parchman Farm and ends with the March on Washington and the fatal bombing of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church. Just as in the first volume, the stark black-and-white illustrations complement the somber and often disturbing events, but now, as the atmosphere becomes darker and more intense, the illustrations become more cinematic, more ominous.

In addition to the powerful portrayal of the dramatic events, I like the way the narrative includes realistic details of compromise and weakness: MLK’s refusal to join the Freedom Riders by saying he wishes to chooses his own “Golgotha” and then being mocked as “De Lawd,” Stokely Carmichael’s dangerous intransigence, the March on Washington’s reluctance to accept the services of accomplished organizer Bayard Rustin because he was was openly gay, and Lewis himself frustrated by demands that he alter his speech until he is persuaded by his idol A. Phillip Randolph. And as before, we see all the great turmoil and petty trials of the past framed by the story of Barack Obama’s first inauguration.

This is both a great graphic narrative and an accessible and accurate history of a crucial period in American history, a time filled with bravery and heroes.

You should buy it and read it. Come to think of it, buy all three volumes, and give them to a young person you love.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,079 reviews31.3k followers
September 15, 2018
I simply cannot imagine having to face the brutality these people faced in the south. The ugliness on display in places like AL, MS and TN is horrific. The men and women using non-violence as a protest are amazing people and this story has power. I admit, I didn't know much of who John Lewis was until this series. This is his account of the civil rights revolution. A revolution that never completely finished. People want to think it's fair and equal, but yet it's not. Our system is still stacked against the poor and people of color.

I'm so glad these novels have been published. They tell an important story of our history. What a shame that it is still a struggle for all people of the US to have the promises of the American revolution. Right now, at this moment, there are groups doing their best to purge voter rolls and keep a certain type of person from voting, mostly people who will vote the party of power out.

I can't imagine the violence that happened during this time. It boggles my mind that people would bomb churches and kill and maim people for trying to change society. We are seeing the repercussions from this time period. We took a step forward and it looks as if we might be taking a violent step back. This violence and civil unrest will surface again if people don't feel like they can live equal and free.

John Lewis gave a powerful speech at the march on Washington. I don't know if I have ever heard it before, but it's still relevant today. I mostly know Dr. King's speech, which is one of my favorites in history. I'm glad things have changed, but they need to keep changing. We can't let the country fail it's citizen's. We are facing some serious times ahead. Our country is so divided, I don't know if we can come back together. We have racial problems, we have class problems, we have environmental problems, we have violence problems and we have truth problems. These are huge issues and the next generation will have to deal with them at some point. They won't be denied. We need to be able to come together to deal with them. It's going to be a rocky future is my fear.

When there is almost half the country that can't even admit truth is truth how do we even go forward? I saw a college facebook friend comment on a status update that slavery was not bad and they Hollywood made up all the horrible treatment that went on. They were treated with care and like family. How does someone in my generation really believe such utter crap? I watched Roots, didn't she. This books shows the hatred humans can show one another. It is the sad side of human nature.

As tough as this book is, it also gives me hope. These stories show people facing great violence and a threat to their very lives. People died all around them and in all that, they had faith and love. Somehow, they kept their faith. They knew there was a better world they could create. They sacrificed for a better world. So in all that happens now, I hope I can continue to have faith, even while it feels the cards are stacked against a better tomorrow.

I will certainly read the 3rd volume. I think it is the last one. I want to finish the story. It is something to have John Lewis watch Barack Obama sworn into office. It gives me goosebumps to think about the meaning of that for all the people who gave their life to see that possibility happen.

I think Love is the only way forward. It will be difficult love as loving people who seem out to destroy your world is truly tough. I see faith as the only way forward. We have to love one another to heal the wounds in our country. Listening is a powerful tool and I think it's time our nation begin to listen to both sides. Both sides have hurts, real or imagined, doesn't matter.

Thank you John Lewis for all your sacrifices in making this a better world and for giving us this account of your life. It has touched me and I pray no other generation will have to experience this level of violence and humiliation.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,081 reviews2,720 followers
December 7, 2016
Wow, book two in the March series was even more powerful than book one. The March graphic novels are based on Congressman John Lewis' memories of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. This second volume focuses on the Freedom Riders in 1961, and also on the March on Washington in August 1963. That was the day when Dr. Martin Luther King made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Of all the people who spoke that day, only Lewis is still alive.

I was so inspired after reading this book that I watched the PBS documentary "Freedom Riders." It is truly amazing what nonviolent protests have been able to accomplish. I highly recommend the March graphic novels for anyone interested in the Civil Rights Movement.

P.S. The box set of the March trilogy is just beautiful, and I think it will make a great Christmas present. It's a gift that educates and inspires!

Favorite Quote
"It's difficult to understand the position of oppressed people. Ours is a way OUT -- creative, moral and nonviolent. It is NOT tied to black supremacy or communism, but to the plight of the oppressed. It can save the soul of America."
-- Martin Luther King, talking to Attorney General Robert Kennedy
Profile Image for Bookishrealm.
2,086 reviews5,080 followers
May 4, 2023
I thought that this second part of March was amazing! I loved the artwork and I really enjoyed the historical references. It's been really great seeing all of this information from a different perspective and I don't think I realized how integral John Lewis was to the Civil Rights Movement
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
July 21, 2020
This is the second volume of three by Lewis, a significant civil rights leader and member of congress and drawn by Nate Powell, that sort of ramps up the energy and action and emotion and gets us to significant events in civil rights history, told quickly but deftly and with energy and without sugarcoating about what happened. This one focuses on the Freedom Rides, Lewis's incarceration in Mississippi's Parchman Prison, and 1963's March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It ends with the Birmingham's Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing and the death of four little girls, memorialized also in Spike Lee's documentray film, Four Little Girls, and many other texts.

For a liberal of a certain age who lived through those times, it is familiar territory, but it is important to know in particular why non-violence was the chosen strategy. I generally think history and biography are not best served by short stories as they are usually packaged for young people. They tend to gloss over the details. And this is, yes, pretty much true of this series, but you get some of the right details, it's not boring, and I think you get in this one what is at the heart of the matter. And you see some of the tensions in the movement, King and Lewis, the staunch pacifists, vs. Stokely Carmichael and Malcolm X. It's sort of breathtaking (and horrifying) what happened just half a century ago, and you get a feel for it in this impressive book/trilogy. Lewis was made to tone down his March on Washington speech in 1963, which he no longer regrets, but an appendix includes the text of his original speech, which is interesting and useful.

I write this within a week of the fiftieth anniversary commemoration of the Selma March, with Sen Lewis as leader then and now. Many of you may have seen the photos of the Obamas and Lewis and others who were there fifty years ago crossing that bridge, so it's timely that the second volume comes out now and it's well worth the read. Powell's art sort of captures the energy and horror of the time. Of course it is a kind of introduction for young people, maybe, who knew nothing of this, who can see some of it now thanks to Powell, and for adults, it's a quick reminder to all that happened then. I'd also recommend longer and deeper versions, such as the documentary film series, Eyes on the Prize and Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters, among so many others, but those two sources are among the best. Still much to be done in this country on race relations. Still massive poverty and crime and brutality and inequality.
Profile Image for Donovan.
705 reviews71 followers
July 15, 2018

The year was 1961, and the American South was racist as fuck. At movie theaters, they were turned away or beaten. In cafeterias, subjected to water buckets, hoses, darkness, and poisonous fumigation. In buses and terminals, sometimes beaten or burned to death. In the streets, full blown riots, sometimes to the death. All at the approval of white police and government.

It breaks my heart to read about the history of American hatred and the dehumanization of African-Americans. More than a half century later and this sense of racial superiority is still alive and strong in this country. How quickly we forget. How ignorant we continue to be.

What I admire about John Lewis and his fellow activists is their perseverance. I mean, damn, the system itself is corrupt and designed to subjugate anyone who isn't white and/or rich. It was illegal for whites to forcibly remove blacks from the buses but they did it anyway. Because they could. Because that's how it always was and always should have been. Until these brave civil rights activists stood up and spoke up for themselves, took beatings, and died for their cause. Talk about idealism and liberty. Talk about freedom.
Profile Image for Idarah.
464 reviews51 followers
February 6, 2017
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"In those moments, Dr. King made plain all of our hopes, our aspirations...everything we sought through the beatings and the blood, through the triumphs and the failures, everything we dared to imagine about a NEW America, a BETTER America..."
Profile Image for Monica.
622 reviews631 followers
December 31, 2017
I remain impressed. This is a spectacular set of graphic novels and the John Lewis story is worth knowing and understanding. He is a national treasure.

5 Stars

Read the dead tree version.
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,545 reviews12.9k followers
November 23, 2015
Congressman John Lewis continues his autobiography in March: Book Two which picks up in November 1960 as a 20 year-old Lewis’ involvement in the growing student movement deepens.

The main focus in the second book is the Freedom Rides. Boynton v. Virginia (1960) outlawed segregation and racial discrimination on buses and in bus terminals so the idea behind the Freedom Riders was to test the decision by sending small groups of integrated students (black and white) on buses in the south. The results were horrifying.

The sheer bigotry the Freedom Riders encountered was shocking and makes this a very tough read as it doesn’t gloss over their experiences. Black and white students were beaten in the streets by groups of white thugs and, because the protestors were nonviolent, it was always a massacre. Protesters were beaten bloody, sometimes crippled, and sometimes killed. The police didn’t help and in some cases joined in.

Buses were literally firebombed and it wasn’t long before drivers refused to drive any buses carrying the Freedom Riders. In one instance as the Freedom Riders waited overnight for a bus, the KKK surrounded the terminal, outside the police barricade – the way that panel was drawn with these costumed racists felt like it was ripped from the pages of a Marvel or DC comic! Except the Freedom Riders and the Klan were real life heroes and villains.

More than being an autobiography, Lewis and his co-writer Andrew Aydin spend a lot of time establishing the context of the era. The racism displayed by the public officials of this time was breath-taking. Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett announced “The good lord was the original segregationist” while Alabama Governor George Wallace firmly stated “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”.

We see the various forms of non-violent protests Lewis and his friends engaged in – sit-ins at lunch counters, buying movie tickets, handing over mattresses while in prison (Mississippi State Pen) – and its always disproportionate violent response. Just mentioning some of those forms of civil disobedience boggles the mind – how utterly benign and yet how radical it was back then!

The sense of excitement, juxtaposed with the palpable fear of real danger, can be felt in the pages as Lewis and his friends barrel from one location to another. Change is in the air, change is coming, and a revolution is stirring – you sense it in the narrative as its drama is expertly built up.

The book is very informative (there’s so much more I haven’t even touched on that’s included) but it also manages to be a gripping read as these young men and women were constantly putting themselves in harm’s way for the sake of progress – it seems like there’s a violent confrontation every few pages. The book also includes scenes with major historical figures as Civil Rights organisations like the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) met with John and Robert Kennedy and, of course, Dr Martin Luther King. This volume closes out on August 28, 1963, the day the March on Washington DC took place, where Lewis gave his speech (the full, unedited version of which is appended at the end), and Dr King entered history with his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

The way that Lewis/Aydin structure some sequences of the book is brilliant. Scenes from Barack Obama’s inauguration day, January 20, 2009, are interspersed throughout to highlight the results of the Civil Rights Movement. During the brutal Montgomery riots, Freedom Riders were beaten by a mob made up of men, women and children, which then cuts to Obama’s inauguration where Aretha Franklin’s singing My Country Tis of Thee, the words floating across these appalling scenes from half a century ago. It’s a devastating effect.

Full credit to artist Nate Powell for rendering the whole book in a masterful black, white and grey. The book is gorgeous, the pages are bursting with detail and vibrancy, and the use of light and shadow is perfect.

March: Book Two is a powerful and moving addition to John Lewis’ autobiographical series and a grand tribute to the Civil Rights Movement. It’s a valuable piece of history too especially as Lewis is the last surviving speaker from that day in Washington and this is a first-hand account of those days past. An inspiring memoir of a remarkable time and even more remarkable people, March: Book Two is comics at its finest.
April 8, 2018
Book Two of March gets grisly.

The nonviolent beginnings of the Nashville “sit-ins” depicted in March, Book One, have now attracted national attention and opposition, and violence is erupting all over the South.

The Freedom Riders board buses in the South in the 1960s, to fight for the right to be recognized as human, but what is human anyway, if a human can turn a fire hose on children at a nonviolent protest and then set a pack of killer police dogs on them?

As far as I'm concerned, there's behavior toward humans that happened in the U.S. during this struggle for civil rights that makes me want to crawl into a cave and scrawl on the walls with my own fingernails. Still, all people crave the innate desire to be validated and recognized as worthy, as human, and all people should be, even if being human still has a long way to go.

This graphic novel is graphic at times, and so is our human behavior.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

--Maya Angelou
Profile Image for Char.
1,682 reviews1,557 followers
February 6, 2018
Just like with The Complete Maus, (a graphic novel about the Holocaust), I learned a lot about the civil rights movement that I do not remember learning in school.

I knew about the Freedom Rides and the Lunch Counter Sit-ins, but I didn't know about children getting hit with fire hoses or the repeated beatings and jailings of the peaceful protesters.

Starting and ending with the swearing in of President Obama, I can't imagine what that must feel like to John Lewis. Starting life not being able to eat in certain restaurants and having to ride at the back of the bus, and getting all the way to a black president in one lifetime. It's an amazing accomplishment and John Lewis was a huge part of it.

I wasn't all that crazy about the art in this volume, hence the 4 start rating. I will continue on to the next, (and last), volume.
Profile Image for leynes.
1,118 reviews3,043 followers
January 15, 2020
I said everything I wanted to say in regards to the story as a whole and the art style in my review of March: Book One, so let's jump straight ahead to the things that March: Book Two taught me:

1) Due to his work with SNCC and other Civil Rights organizations John Lewis grew estranged from his family. He still saw his family over the summer, but Nashville and the growing Nashville student movement became his home.

2) The non-violent sit-ins were met with more and more aggressive responses. Once Lewis and his friends were locked in a restaurants with a fumigator used only for killing pests. He couldn't believe that the owners left them there to die. At last, the fire department rescued them.

3) In February 1961 they started to protest at local movie theaters with stand-ins. When they were refused, they would simply get back in line and wait their turn to ask for a movie ticket again, and thus slowing down theatres lines tremendously. John and his friends were arrested during such a protest, and thus he spent his 21st birthday (February 21, 1961) in jail.

4) Then the Freedom Rides began. The Freedom Rides were journeys by Civil Rights activists on interstate buses to segregated southern states to test the United States Supreme Court decision (Boynton v. Virginia, 1960) which ruled that segregation was unconstitutional for passengers engaged in interstate travel. The first Freedom ride from Washington D.C to New Orleans was organized by CORE in May, 1961. The riders actually thought that they might die on these trips and so all of them signed a will beforehand. <3

5) John's bus never made it to Birmingham. They were bombed. All his friends died. Only due to luck and circumstance, was John not present when this act of terror hit. He left the riders earlier because he had to get to a job interview in Philadelphia. Oh my.

6) It was later revealed that Eugene Connor, Birmingham's Chief of Police, promised the Ku Klux Klan fifteen minutes with the bus before he'd make any arrests. That is just so motherfucking sickening to read.

7) The attorney general and other politicians wanted the Freedom Rides to stop due to the violent response of white supremacist and moderates. However the Nashville Student Movement wanted to go on, and they had MLK's full support. However there was tension between MLK and the students because Dr King didn't wanna partake in any Freedom Ride himself.

8) During the early 1960s SNCC went through a rough patch because there was a lot of tension within the committee. Whilst people like John Lewis stood firm in their belief in non-violence, other important acitvists of the day, such as Jim Lawson, grew tired of it and preached that Black people should be able to defend themselves when harrassed. The fact that John Lewis had been arrested and beaten and jailed so many times held a lot of weight with his SNCC colleagues, and thus Jim Lawson was shunned and John was elected to SNCC's Executive Coordinating Committee.

9) While Dr. King was in Jail, Jim Bevel, who had left SNCC and joined SCLC, set out to organize and train Birmingham's children. Bevel went into Black schools and churches to teach hundreds of teenagers the techniques of nonviolence. <3 And thus on May 2, 1963 nearly a thousand of Birmingham's Black children marched that day. <3 Almost all of them were arrested. It was an embarrassment to the city.

10) In June 1963 a representative of SNCC was invited to the White House to join other leaders, discussing President Kennedy's proposed Civil Rights Bill as well as his concerns about the announcement of a March on Washington. The Kennedy Bill did not guarantee the right of all African Americans to vote. Only if you had a 6th grade education, you should be considered literate and able to vote. How fucking crazy! SNCC's position was that the only qualification for being to vote should be that of age and residence. Damn straight! And thus Kennedy's proposal got rejected.

11) One person deliberately not invited that day to attend the meeting with the president was Malcolm X of the Nation of Islam. John Lewis says he respected Malcolm, however he felt that he was never a part of the movement, because violence, no matter how justified, was not something he could accept. Malcolm X did attend the March on Washington saying that he may not fully support it, but because where Black folks be, is where he belongs.

12) The Civil Rights leaders who were present at the meeting – A. Philip Randolph, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, Jim Farmer of CORE, Whitney Young of the Urban League and John Lewis of SNCC – would be forever linked, known collectively as the Big Six. <3

13) The March on Washington was organized by A. Philip Randolph. John Lewis says of him that he could have been president if he had been born at another time. Out of all the people who spoke at the March, John Lewis is the only who is still around. <3

14) After the meeting Attorney General Robert Kennedy took John aside and told him that the young people of SNCC have educated and changed him. He now understands their struggle and will do what he can to help them along. This gave John hope, because it affirmed his belief that people are willing to learn, grow and change.
Profile Image for Trudie.
544 reviews586 followers
October 28, 2020
In my ongoing effort to get a handle on American politics and spurred by the recent sad passing of Congressman John Lewis, I came back to finish this trilogy that I started two years ago ( I am notoriously bad at completing trilogies ).
I enjoy history presented in graphic novel format, its a good way to get a succinct overview of a topic which can latter be fleshed out with further reading. I would have to say that I enjoyed this instalment even more than, March: Book 1. It covers a lot of ground starting out in 1961 with the Freedom Riders and finishing up with Lewis's speech in 1963 at the March on Washington, which cemented his position as one of the key leaders in the Civil Rights Movement.
Using a comic book to tell this story somehow reinforces to me the physical cost and level of violence endured to bring about even incremental change. There is plenty of "slap", "slap", "smack", "whump" and that's just from the housewives of Birmingham. It underscores just how much courage it takes to agree to accept violence without responding in kind. All this to claim your constitutional right to ride interstate buses into the Southern States. Extraordinary this was less than 60 years ago.

What an amazing life John Lewis lived, truly an inspiration for how to lead and bring about change.
Profile Image for Teresa.
Author 8 books817 followers
June 22, 2018
Last month I visited Birmingham, Alabama: the park where children marched in a peaceful demonstration against segregation, where they were arrested, sprayed by firehoses and threatened with police batons and attack-dogs; the church that was bombed, killing four little girls; the fairly new Civil Rights Institute that memorializes these events (also covered in this volume) and more. I am in awe of what these people did and how they achieved their goals. I don’t think I could be that strong.

A tremendous amount of events taking place over a short period of time are covered in these pages and are well told, the only confusing thing for me being to keep straight the names of those in the different organizations who were in charge of the movement. Even so, I would’ve finished this sooner, but the other night I had to put it aside for a while and read something else. The treatment of the non-violent Freedom Riders, including murder and brutality both before and after they were imprisoned, coupled with the news of the day (that is, the imprisonment of innocent children) became overwhelming. The other overwhelming fact is that we are still dealing with these issues that were the focus of a march on Washington, D.C., portrayed in this volume, when John Lewis, at 23, gave a defining speech and Martin Luther King, Jr., gave a speech for the ages.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,352 reviews2,439 followers
December 7, 2016
Book 2 in the March series about the life and work of civil rights activist John Lewis is absolutely propulsive in telling the story of racial prejudice in the southern United States in the early 1960s. As with Book 1, the early frames describe a cold day in January 2009 when all of Washington, D.C. and many more gathered in front of the Capitol Building for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

The joyous scenes in 2009 are interleaved with the contrasting history some 50-odd years earlier when black people were protesting the right to sit at the same lunch counter with whites. John Lewis was involved in these nonviolent “actions” at that time which entailed silent continued resistance to refusals to serve, waiting until nightfall or arrest, whichever came first, only to be replaced by others once the first protesters were taken to jail. It was nonviolent on the protester side, but not on the side of those who disliked the protests. Not just the eating locations, but movie theaters, swimming pools, buses were all segregated and targeted for protests.

The actual start of the Freedom Rider action, testing the Boynton v. Virginia Supreme Court ruling which outlawed segregation and discrimination on buses and in bus terminals, is a fascinating one which the authors tell in great detail. The continued pressure of constant resistance across the southern states provoked violent push-back, but the peaceful protests were surprisingly effective. As the movement grew bigger, it had to accommodate many more points of view and opinions, and in some cases was encouraged to lose its pacifist methods. This section of the civil rights movement led by John Lewis at least held to its position through the early 1960s, though more radical voices were warming up in the wings.

Part 2 of the three-part series draws to a close with the hugely-successful March on Washington in August 1963, but the book's final frames show an explosion at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama in September that same year, less than one month later. Violence now came unprovoked and the pressure to resist in kind was building. All the time protesters asked for national guidance and support, without definitive response or intervention by national leadership.

These books are terrific material for teens on up, reminding us of the difficulties faced in the struggle for racial equality not so very long ago. The authors have won all kinds of prizes, awards, and praise for this series, deservedly. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Karen Witzler.
482 reviews164 followers
July 18, 2020
The movement matures. The Six Leaders emerge. A portal into American Hell opens up in a Birmingham church and swallows four maidens. Lewis makes sure to give us the names of other youngsters murdered in the streets in the ensuing madness. Honestly it is like reading a sort of American Iliad.
Profile Image for Barbara (The Bibliophage).
1,086 reviews152 followers
March 13, 2017
This is a history lesson, a heartbreak, and a primer on resistance. The drawings are starkly black and white, which is both symbolic and deeply affecting. I'm forever grateful to John Lewis and his team of creators for filling in the missing lessons in my education's curriculum. Shame on schools if they don't teach these kids about events, like mine didn't.
Profile Image for Madalyn (Novel Ink).
499 reviews825 followers
July 27, 2017
These graphic novels are just brilliant. I mean, what a perfect medium for John Lewis's story. I am endlessly proud to call this man my representative in Congress.
Profile Image for Tom.
199 reviews42 followers
July 21, 2022
With the awkward framing device of an aged John Lewis guiding a pair of disinterested children through the early history of his civil rights odyssey dispensed with, March: Book Two sees Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell's graphic depiction of the civil rights movement come into its own. Split between modern scenes taking place on the day of Barack Obama's inauguration and the clash of peaceful protest and racist violence occurring during the early 1960s, Book Two runs the gamut of emotions and charts the range of political gains that black men and women in the United States have attained over decades of struggle, in which former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee chairman Lewis played a profound role.

The heroes (Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, Malcolm X) and villains (George Wallace, Bull Connor, various nameless racists) are brought vividly to life by the combination of great artwork and straightforward storytelling. This remains a tough book to read, with all its depictions of injustice and violence, even with the rays of hope and progress that shine through. Ultimately, the authors decline to settle for an uplifting ending: instead of the victorious words of Obama, March: Book Two concludes with the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed four young girls. By this point, the freedom riders and marchers have made much progress, and awakened the conscience of white leaders such as Robert Kennedy, among others. But the fight -- for hearts, minds, justice, equality -- goes on.
Profile Image for Sesana.
5,344 reviews343 followers
April 23, 2015
Every bit as good as the first volume. This volume includes the Freedom Rides and the March on Washington, which makes parts honestly terrifying to read, even this long after the actual events.
Profile Image for Marta.
1,001 reviews106 followers
April 17, 2017
Riveting, raw capturing of the freedom rides, and the organization of the March on Washington. The bravery of the freedom riders was incredible - they knew they are likely to get beaten, jailed, might even be killed - yet they went to the heart of the segregationist South - Birmingham, AL; Jackson, MS. My biggest shock was the terrible violence, anger displayed by white racist mobs, the police, the attitude of the governors in those states.

The graphic medium is used perfectly to heighten the drama, bring home the viciousness of the mobs. The story is well written. A perfect reminder for all of us how far we have come, but also how far we still have to go.
Profile Image for Meredith.
333 reviews2 followers
March 22, 2017
I'm learning so much about the Civil Rights Movement from these graphic novels! I knew the name "Freedom Riders," though to read what they really went through was heartbreaking, but so important. And having some more background on the March on Washington was really interesting, too. Dr. MLK's speech still runs true today, but we've still got a long ways to go.
Profile Image for Eric.
404 reviews75 followers
March 25, 2017
It is 2016 and recent events, incidents, and tragedies that have taken place this year in this country that has never quite lived up to its' myth, nearly 8 years after the inauguration of its' first black President (which serves as the overarching climax for this 3 book graphic memoir about John Lewis' activism during the Civil Rights Movement), makes me urge you to read March: Book Two.

If you want a traditional review and overview of this graphic memoir there are many on Goodreads that do a more in-depth and articulate job than I could detailing the events and politics that John Lewis, Nate Powell, and Andrew Adyin illuminate in this second volume. But, in some ways, there is a power in images that mere words can fail to capture and evoke. John Lewis knows this, since the seeds of his activism were planted by Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story in his youth, and even though he had already written and published Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement and Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change he set off on this endeavor in graphic novels for younger generations.

And, unfortunately, there is no film nor pictures of all the events, incidents, and tragedies Lewis, Powell, and Adyin chronicled here so they have crafted numerous panels, pages, and double-spreads of illustrations with enough power that they've seared themselves into my memory. I'm not sure any of my words or the words of others can really do a more than an adequate job of doing this painful, harrowing, horrifying, inspiring reading experience justice, because the second book of March does do justice to those painful, harrowing, horrifying, inspiring times by bringing this past to vivid life for those us who weren't alive to personally witness them. Even posting screenshots of those illustrations that my mind's eye can see with perfect clarity would be a disservice to them since they should not be seen and read in a vacuum.

This is an urgent reminder: with the disparity of the incarceration rates of minorities compared to their presence in the population of the United States; the mass shootings that have taken place in the past few years; the disheartening unjustified deaths of too many black men, women and children at the hands of police with seemingly no consequence; the ridiculous restrictions placed on LGBT people and abortion clinics throughout numerous states; the absolutely disgraceful way far too many police officers, judges, and college campuses go about dealing with cases of rape; and the hate, racism, and xenophobia that haven arisen since Donald Trump chose to run for President this election year we can't forget that every bit of social progress the United States has seen was a titanic struggle to achieve, and injustices were never curbed purely through the whims of those who weren't effected.

The current times have made me angry, sad, and, above all, ashamed that I haven't found the time to be a part of "good trouble." Not despondent, though. John Lewis' courage and fortitude, and the courage and fortitude of his contemporaries - the big names who led and planned the protests, and the countless and nameless men, women, and children who followed - show you have to fight that with all you have, too.

5 stars
Profile Image for Sebastien.
252 reviews291 followers
October 24, 2016
Gut-wrenching. Heart-rending. These comics are hammering home to me the darkest aspects of what people in the Civil Rights Movement faced. I think I understood this in the abstract, but when I read about it, and see it visualized, it becomes even more starkly real and frightening. I am both inspired and frightened by what humanity is capable of.

It's a wonderful series so far. Much of the history I had some grasp of, but I have learned other aspects and facts which I was completely in the dark about. What I like as well is that I don't feel people in this story are overly mythologized. This can be a tendency in historic presentation, a Manichean interpretation where there are sharp delineations between the "Good" people and the "Bad" people. Obviously the storyline in these books showcases the dignity, nobility, and inspiring qualities of the people who led the fight for Civil Rights. Which contrasts heavily with the nastiness/violence they faced from segregationists and racists. And yet I feel there is enough nuance in the storytelling that it doesn't fall into pure hagiography.

It's amazing what the Civil Rights Movement accomplished. But there is still so much more to be done, the fight for justice and equality are eternal. A battle every generation must keep fighting for. Always nice to dig into history to find inspiration in those who have come before, setting an example for us to keep pursuing.
Profile Image for Alex Sarll.
5,957 reviews245 followers
March 25, 2017
Following Congressman Lewis' early career from the Freedom Rides to the March on Washington, this is if anything even more powerful than the first volume, and the unflinching depiction of the response by the racist authorities even more harrowing. Though I did find something especially inspiring in all the controversy over Lewis' climactic speech, which you assume is going to have its teeth pulled by the various objectors to this word or that line. Yet when you compare the original draft included at the back, with the delivered version as found in the comic proper, the latter is genuinely a better call to arms. Non-violent arms, of course, though there is a current here in which Lewis gets increasingly uneasy with the fracturing devotion to that principle, while obviously being able to empathise with the frustrations driving it.

Needless to say, the framing scenes of Obama's inauguration and the progress they imply don't get any easier to read from the further framing level of 2017's tangerine nightmare.
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