Last Updated on July 9, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 376
An engaging scene takes place in Representative John Lewis’s Washington office. A female constituent brings her two young sons to see the capitol, and they are stunned to find Lewis in his office; he invites them in and shows them some memorabilia on display. While reflecting on the 1963 March on Washington, Lewis remarks that of all ten speakers that day,
I’m the only one who’s still around.
Looking around at one common feature of the office décor, one of the boys has a question:
Why do you have so many chickens?
Lewis explains that they are a reminder of his roots growing up on a farm and how his interest in raising chickens gave way to his desire to become a preacher.
In March: Book Two, Lewis delves into numerous main events of the 1960s civil rights movement. He is straightforward in assessing how he stepped into a leadership role, as he initially was a member but later became the director of SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, one of the most vocal and active groups. He considers his involvement not out of any ambition to be at the head of a given segment but growing out of his commitment to achieving equality for all. He says that “it seemed strange” to realize that he would be at the organization’s head:
I saw myself as a doer. I never had any thoughts of being chairman.
The third book details the story of the events leading up to the march in Selma, Alabama, during which Lewis was severely beaten along with other protestors. The essential element around which the protests revolved was the right to vote. Lewis, in his capacity as SNCC chairman, had spoken about this at the March on Washington:
One man, one vote.
In the memoir, he reviews many of the discouraging practices that people supposedly trying to register voters instead used as roadblocks to prevent them from doing so. The 1960s statistics in Dallas County, where Selma was located, were staggering:
In Dallas County, only 2.1% of African-Americans of voting age were registered.
Speaking to a meeting at a church, Lewis declared,
We are going to stay here in Selma until every person of color can register and vote.