AUTHORS: John Lewis & Andrew Aydin
ILLUSTRATORS: Nate Powell
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: In this comic book trilogy, John Lewis tells the story of the Civil Rights Movement and the part he played in it.
This graphic novel is a biographical account of John Lewis, one of the Civil Rights activists of the 1960s. It covers his years as a kid living in a farm, his interest in Civil Rights, the start of the SNCC, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. There are many behind the scene moments and history I wasn’t aware of. I think it’s a good novel for those who want to learn more about this moment in U.S. history, especially because it’s not the watered down version they teach in schools.
This book made me appreciate all the incredibly hard work the men and women put into the movement. Today, I can happily sit wherever I want, go to school wherever I want (as long as I’m accepted), register to vote, and vote without the fear of violence. This graphic novel is not shy about showing the brutal beatings people suffered in their peaceful protests, and it shows the worries they encountered as their movement momentum. While I grew more appreciative of these brave men and women who stood up for their rights, I couldn’t help but be angry from seeing everything they had to overcome.
Like I said this is not the watered down version of history I was taught in school, it delves deep into the history and taught me a lot that I didn’t know about. For example, I thought the Civil Rights movement stopped at the Civil Rights Act, but keeps going until the Voting Rights Act. It just goes to show how there is always room for improvement and something new to fight for.
I do like the art style and love that it’s just black and white. I’m even happy that it’s not in color because I couldn’t imagine seeing the brutal violence the protestors suffered in color.
I find the writing quite unusual for a comic because it reads more as a narrative than the typical comic with word bubbles. In other words, it’s more telling than showing, but that’s not a bad thing. I’m okay with this writing format because I understand there is a lot to cover and impossible to show everything.
The only negative thing I have to say is how wordy it gets by the end of the story. Lewis mentions many names, organizations, and writes full speeches which made it a bit more difficult. I almost gave up, but I was already halfway through the third and final book.