We wanted to do a fun community building thing each month called the Media Club! Sort of like a book club but we'll feature other types of media as well, like a podcast or a documentary. Whatever it is, we want to feature something that educates, entertains and brings people together.
Our pick this month is Representative John Lewis' graphic novel March. This wonderful trilogy, co-written with Andrew Aydin, outlines Lewis' involvement in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. March is a great pick because it provides an accessible, refresher course on the civil rights movement while giving Lewis' personal perspective. It's poignant, powerful and educational.
For one, the March trilogy is beautifully illustrated in black and white by Nate Powell. There are several passages that were enhanced by the art. Even small moments like the one below really come to life:
The story is told through flash backs weaving between the 1960s and President Obama's inauguration day. (The series was published back when Trump was just an Apprentice...) Knowing how history has taken a turn backwards, the sunny juxtaposition to Obama's inauguration feels bittersweet.
You can learn a lot about the civil rights movement from this series. It provides a timeline for the protests, starting from lunch counter sit-ins to the bus boycott to the eventual march in Selma, AL. It also reminds the reader how openly racist and monstrous white people were just decades ago, and how insurmountable the fight for equal rights seemed. Yet people of color and their allies came together, persevered and worked to the bone to make progress.
It feels eerily timely to be reading this now because even though we have made so much progress...current events make you strikingly aware that these rights are threatened and there's much more work to be done. It also reminds you that the work is not done with a single march, but with years of hard work -- meetings, phone calls, talking to people door to door, until one day you look up and see that true change has been made.
March gives perspective into the hard work that is involved in making positive change. It gives you a better sense of history: how recent Jim Crow laws were, how history can repeat itself and how civil rights are a constant fight. It also reminds you that with hard work, you can see true results.
Have you read the March trilogy? What did you think? If this is your first time, pick up a copy and comment back with your thoughts.