March: Book Two (Lewis, Aydin, Powell)

John Lewis’ story continues in this, the second installment of what I’m becoming convinced is an important trilogy. It’s certainly one that I will hope will be priced within range for school use. The juxtaposition between Obama’s inauguration and developments in the 60s continues. And things get complicated here. There are divisions about tactics. There are arguments about language. There is more (brutally depicted) violence. There are criticisms of Dr. King. New names emerge – Bayard Rustin, the Kennedy brothers, John Seigenthaler, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael.

The illustrators are aware of the power of their tools. Consider the cover, with the image of a burning bus, Freedom Riders fleeing for their lives. Consider the back, a stained glass picture, with Jesus’ face shattered and missing. (You find out why when you read the story.) The writers are also aware of the power of words, letting much of John Lewis’ ¬†controversial speech during the March on Washington run over several pages and then printing it in its original form in the back of the book. Why, I wonder, doesn’t it get more attention? I know it was overshadowed by King’s, but it deserves its own place in history.

An important, teachable, necessary book.


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