Cover image for March. Book one
Title:
March. Book one
ISBN:
9781603093002

9781480625006

9780606324366

9781603093835
Publication Information:
Marietta, GA : Top Shelf Productions, 2013
Physical Description:
121 p. : chiefly ill. ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
GN 760 L Lexile
Summary:
A graphic novel trilogy based on the life of civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis.

Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper's farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president. Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole). March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans John Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1958 comic book "Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story." Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.
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Summary

Summary

#1 New York Times Bestseller

Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon and key figure of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper's farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president.

Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March , a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole ).

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

Book One spans John Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.

Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1958 comic book "Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story." Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.

Winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award -- Special Recognition
#1 Washington Post Bestseller
A Coretta Scott King Honor Book
An ALA Notable Book
One of YALSA's Top 10 Great Graphic Novels for Teens
One of YALSA's Top 10 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults
One of YALSA's Outstanding Books for the College Bound
One of Reader's Digest 's Graphic Novels Every Grown-Up Should Read
Endorsed by NYC Public Schools' "NYC Reads 365" program
Selected for first-year reading programs by Michigan State University, Marquette University, and Georgia State University
Nominated for three Will Eisner Awards
Nominated for the Glyph Award
Named one of the best books of 2013 by USA Today , The Washington Post , Publishers Weekly , Library Journal, School Library Journal , Booklist , Kirkus Reviews , The Horn Book , Paste , Slate , ComicsAlliance , Amazon, and Apple iBooks.


Author Notes

Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is co-author of the first comics work to ever win the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel memoir trilogy MARCH , written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. He is also the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions including the Lincoln Medal, the John F. Kennedy "Profile in Courage" Lifetime Achievement Award, and the NAACP Spingarn Medal, among many others. He lives in Atlanta, GA.

Andrew Aydin is creator and co-author of the #1 New York Times best-selling graphic memoir series, MARCH . Co-authored with Rep. Lewis and illustrated by Nate Powell, MARCH is the first comics work to ever win the National Book Award, and is a recipient of the Will Eisner Comics Industry Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Special Recognition, and the Coretta Scott King Book Award Author Honor, among other honors. Aydin's other comics work includes writing the X-Files Annual 2016 (IDW), writing for the CBLDF Liberty Annual 2016 (Image), and writing an upcoming issue of Bitch Planet (Image).

Nate Powell is a New York Times best-selling graphic novelist born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1978. He began self-publishing at age 14, and graduated from School of Visual Arts in 2000. His work includes MARCH , You Don't Say , Any Empire , Swallow Me Whole , The Silence Of Our Friends , The Year Of The Beasts , and Rick Riordan's The Lost Hero . Powell is the first and only cartoonist ever to win the National Book Award. Powell has discussed his work at the United Nations, as well as on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show and CNN.


Reviews 7

Horn Book Review

Congressman John Lewis--the last surviving member of the "Big Six" civil rights leaders--recounts his formative years in this first volume of a planned trilogy. The book opens on "Bloody Sunday," as troopers assail activists (including Lewis) marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. From this violently chaotic event the narrative fast-forwards to the early morning of Barack Obama's January 2009 inauguration, where Lewis shares his memories with young visitors to his congressional office. Lewis's path to nonviolence was shaped by two key events: the Montgomery Bus Boycott and a 1955 radio broadcast of Martin Luther King Jr. preaching "the Social Gospel." While attending seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, John joined up with other young people fighting segregation with nonviolence to form the Nashville Student Movement. (A nifty example of art imitating life: the group was informed by a popular comic book of the time--Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.) There's something extraordinary about reading a firsthand account of a seminal moment in history from one who not only lived through it but also led it, and this is what ultimately makes this book so essential. The volume is well-designed and the story expertly paced--the flashbacks and flash-forwards are especially effective at keeping things moving. Powell re-creates the time period vividly through his black-and-white art, but the artist's true gift is in his ability to capture emotion with deft use of line and shadow. His nuanced visual storytelling complements Lewis's account beautifully. sam bloom (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-Lewis, a sitting congressman from Georgia, reflects on his early life and his role in the Civil Rights Movement. Lewis's eyewitness account, particularly recalling the lunch counter sit-ins in 1959 and 1960, provides significant insight into this momentous period of history. Powell's realistic black-and-white ink wash art intensifies this riveting personal narrative. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal Review

Comics artist Powell (The Silence of Our Friends; Swallow Me Whole) blogged that Congressman Lewis (Representative for the 5th U.S. Congressional Dist. of Georgia since 1986) "is the sole surviving member of the 'Big Six' of the Civil Rights movement, [and]...was integral in the historic marches from Selma to Montgomery, and generally helped smack institutionalized white supremacy in the nuts and changed the face of 20th century American Society." Growing up in the 1940s, Lewis rode a school bus down dirt roads because roads into "colored" communities weren't paved. Sixty years later, he was a guest of honor at Barack Obama's inauguration. Lewis's remarkable life has been skillfully translated into graphics with the assistance of writer Aydin, a staffer in Lewis's office and his capable Boswell. The art from Eisner and Ignatz Prize winner Powell is perfect for the story, ranging as it does from moody ink-wash to hand-drawn lettering. -VERDICT Segregation's insult to personhood comes across here with a visual, visceral punch. Suitable for tweens through teens and adults, this version of Lewis's life story belongs in libraries to teach readers about the heroes of America. Two more volumes are forthcoming, and a teacher's guide is available.-M.C. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

The long-overdue move to chronicle American history in graphic novel form takes another great step forward with this first volume of a projected history of the civil rights struggle. Instead of taking an all-inclusive, Eyes on the Prize-style approach (an epic undertaking that hopefully is on another artist's to-do list), March is told from the perspective of Georgia congressman John Lewis. Listed here as coauthor with Andrew Aydin, Lewis frames his story as a flashback told to a few inquisitive visitors in his Washington office as he is getting ready to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama. It's an occasionally creaky device that slips sometimes into hagiography, but Lewis's tale is a resolutely dramatic one regardless. Highlighted by dark, neo-noirish art from Nate Powell (The Silence of Our Friends), March tracks Lewis from his hardscrabble childhood on a remote Georgia farm to his gradual awakening to the pernicious evil of segregation and his growing leadership role in Martin Luther King Jr.'s nonviolent resistance movement. If the book strays too far from Lewis himself at times, that's because the momentousness of what's happening around him cannot be ignored. Superbly told history. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Congressman Lewis, with Michael D'Orso's assistance, told his story most impressively in Walking with the Wind (1998). Fortunately, it's such a good story a sharecropper's son rises to eminence by prosecuting the cause of his people that it bears retelling, especially in this graphic novel by Lewis, his aide Aydin, and Powell, one of the finest American comics artists going. After a kicker set on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965 (the civil rights movement's Bloody Sunday), the story makes January 20, 2009 (President Obama's inauguration) a base of operations as it samples Lewis' past via his reminiscences for two schoolboys and their mother, who've shown up early at his office on that milestone day for African Americans. This first of three volumes of Lewis' story brings him from boyhood on the farm, where he doted over the chickens and dreamed of being a preacher, through high school to college, when he met nonviolent activists who showed him a means of undermining segregation to begin with, at the department-store lunch counters of Nashville. Powell is at his dazzling best throughout, changing angle-of-regard from panel to panel while lighting each with appropriate drama. The kineticism of his art rivals that of the most exuberant DC and Marvel adventure comics and in black-and-white only, yet! Books Two and Three may not surpass Book One, but what a grand work they'll complete.--Olson, Ray Copyright 2010 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

"BLACK LIVES matter" is the cry of the new civil rights movement, a slogan so broadly and willfully misunderstood that marchers often shout an addendum: "This is what democracy looks like." The implication is that Americans have forgotten, and it just might be true. In the half century since mass protest ended Jim Crow and expanded the franchise to millions, the civil rights legacy has become a sort of catechism. Its images of nonviolent confrontation have been blurred into a vision of dignified compliance, and its contentious activism into the predestined evolution of the American Way. The result is a picture of democracy domesticated by remembrance, fixed as the granite likeness of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington's West Potomac Park. There are few people better qualified to remind us of what democracy really looks like than John Lewis, the Georgia congressman, civil rights icon and, most recently, the author, with the writer Andrew Aydin and the artist Nate Powell, of a three-part graphic memoir called "March." A galvanizing account of his coming-ofage in the movement, it's a capsule lesson in courage of conscience, a story that inspires without moralizing or simplifying in hindsight. The trilogy's title is season, setting and imperative: "March" begins and draws to a close with scenes from the march Lewis led in Selma, Ala., on March 7, 1965, forever known as "Bloody Sunday" after state troopers and the local police attacked the nonviolent protesters. The opening panels depict the marchers gathered at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, then move from their tense, prayerful faces to the phalanx of billy clubs and white helmets on the opposite bank. Lewis, then only 25, was beaten that day; five months later, Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. The three volumes of "March" (the second won an Eisner Award at Comic-Con, and the third was a finalist for this year's National Book Award for young people's literature) aren't just a record of Lewis's activism but one of its brilliant examples, designed to help new generations of readers visualize the possibilities of political engagement. The model is "Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story," a 16-page comic about the Montgomery bus boycott that begins with a young Martin Luther King Jr. in church. Like most effective lessons, "March" is the story of an education, an introduction to the difficult art of principled dissent - or, as Lewis has called it, "necessary trouble." The three books recount major events of the civil rights movement from Lewis's position as a leader and later the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The first volume encompasses his childhood in rural Alabama, his religious education and his involvement with the sitins protesting Nashville's segregated businesses. After enduring harassment, beatings and incarceration, the students triumph. From their efforts emerges SNCC. Later victories come at a high cost. Book 2 centers on the freedom rides protesting segregation in interstate transportation, which are met with bombings, bus-burnings, mob attacks and the mass imprisonment of riders at Mississippi's state penitentiary, Parchman Farm. Danger impels division: When Dr. King declines to join SNCC organizers on the buses, some mock him by calling him "de lawd." Backstage at the 1963 March on Washington, Lewis, the event's youngest and most radical speaker, is criticized for questioning the proposed civil rights legislation. Lewis's address, so often eclipsed by King's, punctuates the second volume, recasting this capstone event for a generation less certain of the endurance of its message . "March" is more movement blueprint than civil rights monument, avoiding the Old Testament spectacle of good versus evil in favor of the clashing visions and fractious passions of those pledged to the same fight. As in Ava DuVernay's film "Selma," the spotlight is on strategic thinking and organization politics - the choreography behind moments whose seminal status has become, at least for present-day figures whose activism is measured by its yardstick, a hindrance. The graphic-novel genre proves to be the perfect means of showing us the friction at the movement's seams. Vivid and dynamic, yet easily accommodating political nuance, this form lends itself to depicting the complex confrontations and negotiations of a wide range of individuals. Nate Powell's illustrations shine in the testimony of Fannie Lou Hamer, a Mississippi sharecropper who was arrested, beaten and tortured by the police after attempting to register to vote. Hamer's speech at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City serves as the fulcrum for the third volume's account of the freedom summer. She was attending as a leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, organized to challenge the state's segregated delegation for its seats. Her nationally televised address, confidently delivered as an indictment of America's character, was so alarming to Lyndon Johnson that he interrupted the broadcast with an improvised news conference. Hamer's speech zigzags like a thunderbolt across the panels as they sketch the shocked audiences: journalists in the convention ballroom, ordinary families watching at home, President Johnson plotting his countermove from the Oval Office. It's hard to imagine a better medium for representing a movement so defined by its rapid and sophisticated manipulation of publicity. In a year when black demonstrators have been beaten at rallies for Donald Trump and denounced for interrupting Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, the emphasis on Hamer and the Freedom Democratic Party resonates. While "March" doesn't extend beyond its triumphal framing story, the morning of Barack Obama's first inauguration, it speaks to an era defined by #BlackLivesMatter, started on Twitter by Opal Tometi, Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza. Emphasizing disruption, decentralization and cooperation over the mythic ascent of heroic leaders, this graphic novel's presentation of civil rights is startlingly contemporary. Lewis may be one of the "great men" of the movement, but his memoir is humble and generous, carving out much of its space for less well-known organizers, figures like Jim Lawson, Ella Baker and Diane Nash. Young people deserve a future in which they can conceive of their own participation, and this requires a past that, however long the shadow of its achievements, begins at their scale. At their best, graphic novels can grant such permission to aspire. In Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis," the seed of possibility is planted when the artist, still a bookish girl, fashions herself as "the last prophet," destined to end inequality and the suffering of the elderly. (Her grandmother becomes her first disciple.) From this child's act of fantasy, as yet safeguarded from the world's realities, emerges the coming history and the woman who lives to tell it. So, in "March," John Lewis's career is born from a daydream. Tasked with caring for the family chickens, he appoints himself their spiritual guardian - baptizing them, rescuing them from harm, boycotting Sunday chicken dinners and presiding over funerals when the old hens die. Preaching to the flock from his first Bible, he finds the voice that leads him to his vocation, one he still practices today. It's a harbinger of his exemplary life in service, glimpsed in the solitude of a child's intrepid mind. May generations of young readers find the same inspiration in "March." ? The story of an education, an introduction to the difficult art of principled dissent. Julian LUCAS is the associate editor of Cabinet magazine.


Kirkus Review

Eisner winner Powell's dramatic black-and-white graphic art ratchets up the intensity in this autobiographical opener by a major figure in the civil rights movement. In this first of a projected trilogy, Lewis, one of the original Freedom Riders and currently in his 13th term as a U.S. Representative, recalls his early years--from raising (and preaching to) chickens on an Alabama farm to meeting Martin Luther King Jr. and joining lunch-counter sit-ins in Nashville in 1960. The account flashes back and forth between a conversation with two young visitors in Lewis' congressional office just prior to Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration and events five or more decades ago. His education in nonviolence forms the central theme, and both in his frank, self-effacing accounts of rising tides of protest being met with increasingly violent responses and in Powell's dark, cinematically angled and sequenced panels, the heroism of those who sat and marched and bore the abuse comes through with vivid, inspiring clarity. The volume closes with the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (which Lewis went on to chair), and its publication is scheduled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, at which Lewis preceded Dr. King on the podium: "Of everyone who spoke at the march, I'm the only one who's still around." A powerful tale of courage and principle igniting sweeping social change, told by a strong-minded, uniquely qualified eyewitness. (Graphic memoir. 11-15)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.