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March Book One Book Summary

by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

March Book One

John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell


The first volume of a graphic novel trilogy, March Book One chronicles the early life and activism of civil rights leader John Lewis, from his childhood in Alabama to his pivotal role in the iconic 1963 March on Washington.

Table of contents

Open Table of contents

Writing Background

March Book One is based on Lewis’s firsthand account of his experiences in the civil rights movement. Lewis began writing the book in 2009 with the encouragement of his friend and fellow activist Andrew Aydin. The two collaborated on the writing, with Aydin serving as the book’s primary writer and Lewis providing input and feedback. Artist Nate Powell joined the project in 2010, and his distinctive black-and-white illustrations bring Lewis’s story to life.

Author’s Introduction

In this powerful and deeply personal graphic memoir, Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) and co-authors Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell recount Lewis’s lifelong struggle for civil rights. With striking black-and-white art, March Book One captures Lewis’s boyhood in rural Alabama, his experiences as an activist in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and his key role in the landmark 1963 March on Washington.

Key Insights

  • The book provides a unique and deeply personal perspective on the civil rights movement from one of its most iconic leaders.
  • The graphic novel format allows readers to connect with Lewis’s story on a visceral level, making history more accessible and engaging.
  • March Book One highlights the importance of nonviolent resistance and the power of collaboration in achieving social change.
  • The book explores the challenges and sacrifices that Lewis and other civil rights activists faced, as well as the triumphs and victories they achieved.

Chapter Summary

  • Chapter 1: The Boy from Troy introduces John Lewis’s childhood in rural Alabama, where he faced segregation and discrimination from an early age.
  • Chapter 2: The Preacher follows Lewis’s decision to become a preacher and his growing involvement in the civil rights movement.
  • Chapter 3: The Freedom Riders recounts Lewis’s participation in the Freedom Rides, a series of nonviolent protests against segregation in interstate travel.
  • Chapter 4: The March on Washington climaxes with the historic 1963 March on Washington, where Lewis delivered a powerful speech that helped galvanize the nation.


March Book One ends with Lewis reflecting on the progress that has been made in the fight for civil rights, while acknowledging that the struggle for justice continues. The book serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of activism, nonviolence, and the pursuit of equality.


March Book One has received widespread critical acclaim for its powerful storytelling and its ability to make history accessible and engaging. The book has won numerous awards, including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. March Book One is a must-read for anyone interested in the civil rights movement, American history, or the power of graphic storytelling.