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March Book Summary

Book One

by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell


Book One

John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell


March: Book One is a powerful graphic novel memoir that recounts the early life and activism of Congressman John Lewis, a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement. Through vivid illustrations and compelling narrative, the book follows Lewis’s journey from his childhood in rural Alabama to his pivotal role in the Nashville Student Movement and the Freedom Rides. It depicts the brutal realities of segregation and the courageous efforts of Lewis and his fellow activists to challenge racial injustice through nonviolent protest.

Table of contents

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Author & Writing Background

John Lewis (1940-2020) was a renowned American politician and civil rights leader who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death in 2020. He was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders and a prominent figure in the fight for racial equality. Andrew Aydin, Lewis’s congressional aide, co-authored the book and played a significant role in bringing Lewis’s story to life. Nate Powell is an award-winning graphic novelist known for his evocative illustrations and his ability to capture complex emotions and historical events.

Key Takeaways

Early Life and Influences

The book explores Lewis’s childhood in rural Alabama, where he experienced firsthand the injustices of segregation. His experiences with racism and his strong faith instilled in him a deep sense of justice and a commitment to nonviolent resistance.

The Nashville Student Movement

As a student at Fisk University, Lewis became involved in the Nashville Student Movement, participating in sit-ins and other forms of nonviolent protest to challenge segregation in public spaces.

The Freedom Rides

Lewis bravely joined the Freedom Rides, a group of activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated South to challenge the non-enforcement of the Supreme Court’s ruling that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. The riders faced violence and arrest, but their actions helped bring national attention to the issue of segregation.

Nonviolent Resistance

The book emphasizes the philosophy and practice of nonviolent resistance, as advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others. Lewis’s unwavering commitment to nonviolence in the face of hatred and brutality is a central theme throughout the book.

The Power of Youth Activism

March: Book One highlights the crucial role of young people in the Civil Rights Movement. Lewis and his fellow student activists demonstrated the power of youth-led movements to bring about social change.

The Ongoing Struggle for Justice

While the book focuses on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, it also acknowledges that the fight for equality and justice is ongoing. Lewis’s story serves as an inspiration for continued activism and advocacy for social justice.

Graphic Novel Format

The use of the graphic novel format allows for a powerful and engaging retelling of Lewis’s story. The illustrations bring the events to life and convey the emotions of the characters in a way that text alone cannot.

Historical Context

The book provides valuable historical context for the Civil Rights Movement, explaining the Jim Crow laws, the role of key figures and organizations, and the broader social and political climate of the time.

FAQ about March

Is March: Book One appropriate for young readers?

While the book deals with mature themes of racism and violence, it is written and illustrated in a way that is accessible to young adults and older teenagers. It can be a valuable educational tool for teaching about the Civil Rights Movement and the importance of social justice.

Are there sequels to March: Book One?

Yes, March is a trilogy. Book Two continues Lewis’s story through the height of the Civil Rights Movement, including his participation in the March on Washington and the Selma to Montgomery marches. Book Three concludes the series, covering Lewis’s later career as a congressman and his continued advocacy for social justice.

Has March: Book One won any awards?

Yes, the book has received numerous awards and accolades, including the National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Book Award, and the Eisner Award. It has been praised for its historical accuracy, powerful storytelling, and stunning artwork.

March Quotes

  • “If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.”
  • “We were determined to be nonviolent, but we were not nonconfrontational.”
  • “Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.”