One Step at a Time

A personal memoir carries a glance into American history. Illustrate this story as a graphic novel. When these elements blend, it takes readers back in time. Here, we travel sixty years. We join those central to the Civil Rights movement, watch the sit-ins, and ask ourselves, “Do I have the courage that they did?”

Graphic Novel + Civil Rights History= March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

In this book, Congressman John Lewis tells about his youth, from a rural childhood preaching to chickens to leading a large anti-violence movement against segregation as a young college student. There are also flashes forward to the Million Man March in 2009 when Lewis, now a senior citizen and prominent congressman, prepares to march in the snow. It demonstrates both his role as a community leader and his perseverance. Nothing is going to keep him from acting on his beliefs, including frigid temperatures and snow.

This book is great for starting discussions. Here are a few topics to consider:

1. How did Lewis apply his religious convictions to his actions?
2. What effect did taking the road trip with Uncle Otis have on Lewis’s outlook?
3. When did Lewis meet Martin Luther King, Jr. and why?
4. How did Lewis’s family react to the possible backlash over his activism?
5. What was the point of the sit-ins, and did they work?
6. What were some of the responses of police, judges, and government officials to the insistence that blacks and whites have equal access to public amenities?
7. Do you agree with Thurgood Marshall’s restrained approach or the more direct way that Lewis dealt with issues?

I am curious about what March: Book Two will include. This story, aside from the flashes forward ends in 1960. Of course, the real history stretches far beyond this. Of course I can read more about the Civil Rights movement on my own, but I would like to see how Lewis and Aydin tell it and how Powell puts it to pictures. You can bet that, when we have the book available at the Library, I will be on the hold list. I hope to be in that line with many of you.

About the Author

Anna Francesca Garcia is the education librarian for the Kansas City Public Library. She has worked at libraries in Nevada and Missouri for nine years. She earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences from the University of North Texas five years ago. In learning about her Jewish heritage, Anna grew up hearing how Abraham Joshua Heschel marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., and admires the bravery Heschel showed in standing by his brothers. While Anna’s six-year-old daughter knows about Martin Luther King, Jr., Anna is using books to teach her that many more people worked to bring about racial equality, and there is still more to do.

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