March: Book Three by John Lewis and Andrew Ayden

This is the third and final installment of John Lewis’s story about the Civil Rights movement.

Published: 2016

Genre: memoir graphic novel

Artist: Nate Powell

Length: 256 pages

Setting: Washington, D. C. on January 20, 2009, and various southern locations in the mid-1960s

Summary: The present day sections of the book relay Lewis’ emotional response to Barack Obama’s Presidential inauguration. We also see key points of the Civil Rights movement, starting with the bombing of the church in Birmingham. The major push in the mid-1960s was getting black people the right to vote. While legally they could vote, many Southern cities used a variety of tactics to disenfranchise black so they were unable to register to vote. SNCC staged a Freedom Vote, where blacks voted alongside elections. There was also a move to seat a contingent of blacks as Mississippi’s delegates for the presidential elections, which failed. We also saw the attempts to march to Montgomery, Alabama to bring the loss of voting rights to the governor of the state. That led to Bloody Sunday, as marchers walked over the bridge to Selma, Alabama. Eventually, the continued suppression of black voters led to the passing of the Voters Rights Act.

Final thoughts: Again, this was hard and yet inspiring to read. I had heard of the church bombing and the Bloody Sunday events (mainly from the U2 song), but many of the details provided in the book were unknown to me. For example, I didn’t realize how strongly and actively black voter registration was suppressed. It’s hard to make changes in the government when you’re not even allowed to participate. And these events were no more than 50 years ago, which is still within the lifetime of people alive today. No wonder there is some strong distrust of the government – it was actively suppressing and even beating blacks within living memory. However, there is a bit of hope, because all the marching and sit-ins and protests did lead to change. I have to hope that will continue to be true, but I understand that it may be a long road to march.

Awards won: National Book Award in 2016, and the Coretta Scott King Award and Printz Medal in 2017

Title comes from: It’s the third book in the series and people continued to march for their rights.

Reading challenges fulfilled: book #8 for the year

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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