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Summary

The March trilogy consists of three books, each titled March followed by the book number. Congressman John Lewis, US Representative from Georgia since 1987, along with co-author Andrew Aydin and illustrator Nate Powell, created this graphic memoir of Lewis’s life and civil rights activism for young adult readers.

March: Book One (published 2013) opens with the 1965 march for voting rights on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama. When the marchers did not turn around as ordered, the state troopers attacked and tear-gassed them. John Lewis was among the marchers. The next scene takes place in Representative Lewis’s US Capitol office and shows him greeting a family of visitors on the eve of Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. The remainder of the book recounts his early life in a sharecropper family, his dream of becoming a minister, and his early involvement with the civil rights movement, which began after hearing Reverend King speak. In his late teens and twenties, he attended theological seminary and began to participate in sit-ins, leading to his first arrest, and a boycott. The book ends with the 1960 integration of lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee.

March: Book Two (2015) spans from 1961 to 1963. Much of the book follows the Freedom Riders’ campaign in the summer of 1961 to integrate buses, with black and white activists riding together throughout the South, including crossing state lines. Lewis was an active participant and in the process was violently attacked. The book also covers the 1963 bombing of an African American church in Birmingham, Alabama, in which three young girls were killed. Lewis contextualizes these events for their importance in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

March: Book Three (2016) picks up in 1963, by which point Lewis had become chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In this capacity he played a leadership role in organizing the Mississippi Freedom Summer, a voter registration campaign. This volume presents several marches held in Alabama and more fully explores the Sunday, March 7, 1965, Selma march.