Review of March by John Lewis

The things that are getting us through.

I recently read the 3-volume graphic novel March by the late civil rights giant and long-serving congressman from Georgia, John Lewis. While in seminary, Lewis helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which spearheaded many iconic moments of the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1960s. March follows the story of Lewis’ years of activism from the sit-ins in Nashville, Tennessee to the voter registration march in Selma, Alabama.

A devout Christian whose activism was motivated and shaped by his faith, Lewis’ story is inspiring and dramatic. The graphic novel medium invites readers into the opposition that Lewis and other civil rights workers faced, and the victories they won, in visually arresting artwork and gripping dialogue. Particularly striking to me was a scene depicting an evening during the 1961 Freedom Rides, where John Lewis and his colleagues were forced to sleep overnight in a Greyhound bus station because no driver would risk driving them through Mississippi. In the middle of the night, Lewis and his colleagues awoke to find hundreds of hooded Klansmen had surrounded the station, where they remained until dawn.

These true stories help us contextualize the complexities of current injustices, exposed so clearly over this past year, and remind us that our actions taken in faith can make a difference.

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