Book Reviewed: March: Book 1 by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell

Genre: Autobiographical comics

Publisher: Top Shelf Productions in 2013 ($14.95 for the paperback)

Here we are in the month of February, day four to be exact, and I felt like I wanted to play a bigger part in educating myself. It is Black History Month after all, and I am admittedly ignorant of a lot of Black history. That is shameful of me, I admit, for Black history is American history, and is also world history—to ignore the stories of countless Black men and women is to ignore a large part of what makes this country, and this world, so inherently great.

It was with that need for learning Black history that I checked out the three-part graphic nonfiction series by John Lewis, entitled March. I’d already read George Takei’s excellent graphic memoir detailing his experience as a minority facing injustice in America, and I sought to explore this issue further with Lewis’ work. I finished reading the first volume of the trilogy today, published by Top Shelf Productions just as Takei’s book was, and I was absolutely floored.

John Lewis was a U.S Representative to Georgia’s 5th district, a lifelong civil rights leader and a champion for political and social issues. He marched with Martin Luther King, and led various sit-ins, protests, and public works in order to better the lives of his fellow African Americans. Book 1 of course tells the first part of his story, from his childhood years on his father’s farm leading up to his time at college and the student protests that led to violence and police action taken upon him and his fellow demonstrators. The scenes of Lewis’ past are juxtaposed with his current life as a U.S. Representative, just before receiving the Medal of Freedom as well as living in the wake of the first Black President being elected into office. These alternating scenes make for a very real, very captivating read, and I honestly look forward to reading the second and third volumes in the trilogy.

I would recommend this graphic novel to everyone. This was a rewarding reading experience, a must-have for the conscious citizen.

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