The Movement is Never-ending – The Inspiration of John Lewis’s MARCH

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MARCH volumes 1-3, published by Top Shelf Comics.

I knew this would be a powerful book before I started reading it, but I was both surprised and thankful that it stirred me as much as it did. John Lewis’s sensational, three-volume comic March, co-written by Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, does more than simply recount landmark moments in the Civil Rights movement–many of which are firmly rooted in the history books of America–it brings the reader into those moments. It takes you behind the radio bulletins, television broadcasts and political rallies and shows you so much more of what was going on during that era.

To consider that the 15th amendment had been in place for almost a century and was still being ignored by both state and federal governments fills me with ire. I couldn’t help but feel shame, reading about the corruption of the white-skinned policeman and politicians as they denigrated their fellow American citizens.

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With the threat of increased violence and unjust arrests against them, John Lewis and the people of the movement continued to march.

There is a solemn and disheartening feeling accompanied with reading this in 2018–reflecting on the 60s–and wondering in saddened awe how the current administration is turning the wheels backward. But even in the face of this modern era of populism and cronyism, I was lifted as I continued to read through the hardships of Lewis and the rest of the heroes of the movement.

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John Lewis was arrested more than 40 times while protesting and championing liberties during the 60s–and five more times since he’s been a congressman.

John’s personal account grew from sit-in to sit-in, from march to march, from landmark to landmark, and into the present day. I was warmed to feel the bravery of the young black people and protestors and shared in all the sadness, heartache, defeat, victory and triumph of Lewis and his friends as they fought for what is just and true and right.

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March 7, 1965 – John Lewis and 600 other marchers cross the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama, in what became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

It is disgusting that we live in a society where the man who was elected President, who has never accomplished a single beneficial thing of merit, can so callously call John Lewis “all talk, no action”–on Twitter, no less–and not be unanimously laughed out of office. It is telling and ultimately shameful that we as a society are seeming to now go backwards after people like John Lewis fought so hard, with so much difficulty and strife, to get us to where we are today. But there is always hope.

If this remarkable book has taught me anything it is that with every reverse-thinking demagogue–the 45th President included–and their supporters and their ilk, there are still exceptional, courageous and monumental people like John Lewis fighting for all that is good in the world.

-B.W. Gladney

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Representative John Robert Lewis (D-GA 5th District), serving since 1987.

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