"March offers a poignant portrait of an iconic figure that both entertains and edifies, and deserves to be placed alongside other historical graphic memoirs like Persepolis and Maus.
March, Book Oneby John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
"Congressman John Lewis has been a resounding moral voice in the quest for equality for more than 50 years, and I'm so pleased that he is sharing his memories of the Civil Rights Movement with America's young leaders. In March, he brings a whole new generation with him across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, from a past of clenched fists into a future of outstretched hands." — President Bill Clinton Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president. Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole). March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1958 comic book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story. Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.
"March offers a poignant portrait of an iconic figure that both entertains and edifies, and deserves to be placed alongside other historical graphic memoirs like Persepolis and Maus.
his aide Aydin, and Powell, one of the finest American comics artists going.
After a kicker set on Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965
(the civil rights movement's Bloody Sunday), the story makes January 20, 2009
(President Obama's inauguration) a base of operations as it samples Lewis' past via his reminiscences for two schoolboys and their mother, who've shown up early at his office on that milestone day for African Americans. This first of three volumes of Lewis' story brings him from boyhood on the farm, where he doted over the chickens and dreamed of being a preacher, through high school to college,
when he met nonviolent activists who showed him a means of undermining segregation-to begin with, at the department-store lunch counters of Nashville.
Powell is at his dazzling best throughout, changing angle-of-regard from panel to panel while lighting each with appropriate drama. The kineticism of his art rivals that of the most exuberant DC and Marvel adventure comics-and in black-and-white only, yet! Books Two and Three may not surpass Book One, but what a grand work they'll complete. - Ray Olson
"Congressman John Lewis has been a resounding moral voice in the quest for equality for more than 50 years, and I'm so pleased that he is sharing his memories of the Civil Rights Movement with America's young leaders. In March, he brings a whole new generation with him across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, from a past of clenched fists into a future of outstretched hands." President Bill
"Brave acts of civil disobedience... [give] March its educational value even as Powell's drawings give Lewis's crisp narration an emotional power." The New York Times
"A riveting and beautiful civil-rights story... Lewis's gripping memoir should be stocked in every school and shelved at every library." The Washington Post
"Essential reading... March is a moving and important achievement... the story of a true American superhero." USA Today
"A riveting chronicle of Lewis’s extraordinary life... it powerfully illustrates how much perseverance is needed to achieve fundamental social change." O, The Oprah Magazine
"March offers a poignant portrait of an iconic figure that both entertains and edifies, and deserves to be placed alongside other historical graphic memoirs like Persepolis and Maus." Entertainment Weekly
"An astonishingly accomplished graphic memoir that brings to life a vivid portrait of the civil rights era, Lewis' extraordinary history and accomplishments, and the movement he helped lead... its power,
accessibility and artistry destine it for awards, and a well-deserved place at the pinnacle of the comics canon." NPR
"When a graphic novel tries to interest young readers in an important topic, it often feels forced. Not so with the exhilarating March: Book One... Powerful words and pictures." The Boston
"The civil rights movement can seem to some like a distant memory... Rep. John Lewis refreshes our memories in dramatic fashion." The
"Superbly told history." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Dazzling... a grand work." Booklist (starred review)
powerful tale of courage and principle igniting sweeping social change, told by a strong-minded, uniquely qualified eyewitness... the heroism of those who sat and marched... comes through with vivid, inspiring clarity." Kirkus Reviews
"Lewis's remarkable life has been skillfully translated into graphics... Segregation’s insult to personhood comes across here with a visual, visceral punch. This version of Lewis’s life story belongs in libraries to teach readers about the heroes of America." Library Journal
"This is superb visual storytelling that establishes a convincing, definitive record of a key eyewitness to significant social change,
and that leaves readers demanding the second volume." School Library Journal
"There’s something extraordinary about reading a firsthand account of a seminal moment in history from one who not only lived through it but also led it, and this is what ultimately makes this book so essential... nuanced visual storytelling complements Lewis’s account beautifully." The Horn Book (starred review)
"Likely to prove inspirational to readers for years to come." Barnes and Noble
"Probably the most important graphic novel release of the year." Mental Floss
"Through Powell's powerful graphical recreation of Lewis's life, we slip past the political struggles and into the soul of a man of courage and belief." Shelf Awareness
"Like the acclaimed graphic novels Maus and Persepolis, March is a coming-of-age tale set against a backdrop of violent,
historical confrontation. As in those books, the sweep of history is palpable on every page, but it is the prosaic, very human concerns of the protagonist that make the history breathe." Chapter 16
"Powell intuitively captures all of the drama inherent in the congressman’s gripping, ultimately moving story. Teaming him with Lewis and Aydin has resulted in one of the must-read graphic novels of 2013 (and beyond). If I were King of the World I’d certainly put March on Required Reading lists in middle and high schools everywhere." The Comics Journal
"Yes, it’s educational. But make no mistake... this is not some corporate-packaged spoonful of vitamin water.
It’s an extraordinarily effective and artful graphic novel." Sequart
"The civil rights icon [John Lewis] is a modern Superman, and now he has the book to prove it." ? Atlanta Magazine
"Lewis's remarkable life has been skillfully translated into graphics... Segregation's insult to personhood comes across here with a visual, visceral punch. This version of Lewis's life story belongs in libraries to teach readers about the heroes of America."
-Library Journal (starred review)
“A powerful tale of courage and principle igniting sweeping social change, told by a strong-minded, uniquely qualified eyewitness... the heroism of those who sat and marched... comes through with vivid, inspiring clarity.”
- Kirkus Reviews
“Dazzling... a grand work.” - Booklist (starred review)
Eisner winner Powell's dramatic black-and-white graphic art ratchets up the intensity in this autobiographical opener by a major figure in the civil rights movement.
In this first of a projected trilogy, Lewis, one of the original Freedom Riders and currently in his 13th term as a U.S. Representative,
recalls his early years-from raising (and preaching to) chickens on an Alabama farm to meeting Martin Luther King Jr. and joining lunch-counter sit-ins in
Nashville in 1960. The account flashes back and forth between a conversation with two young visitors in Lewis' congressional office just prior to Barack
Obama's 2009 inauguration and events five or more decades ago. His education in nonviolence forms the central theme, and both in his frank, self-effacing accounts of rising tides of protest being met with increasingly violent responses and in Powell's dark, cinematically angled and sequenced panels, the heroism of those who sat and marched and bore the abuse comes through with vivid, inspiring clarity. The volume closes with the founding of the Student
Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (which Lewis went on to chair), and its publication is scheduled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on
Washington, at which Lewis preceded Dr. King on the podium: “Of everyone who spoke at the march, I'm the only one who's still around.”
A powerful tale of courage and principle igniting sweeping social change, told by a strong-minded, uniquely qualified eyewitness.
(Graphic memoir. 11-15)
Gr 8 Up—Beginning with a dream sequence that depicts the police crackdown on the 1965 Selma-Montgomery March, this memoir then cuts to Congressman John Lewis's preparations on the day of President Obama's inauguration. Lewis provides perspective on the occasion, explaining and describing his own religious and desegregationalist origins in Alabama, his early meeting with Dr. King, and his training as a nonviolent protester. The bulk of the narrative centers around the lunch counter sit-ins in 1959 and 1960 and ends on the hopeful note of a public statement by Nashville Mayor West. The narration feels very much like a fascinating firsthand anecdote and, despite a plethora of personal details and unfamiliar names, it never drags. Even with the contemporary perspective, the events never feel like a foregone conclusion, making the stakes significant and the work important. The narration particularly emphasizes the nonviolent aspect of the movement and the labor involved in maintaining that ideal. The artwork is full of lush blacks and liquid brushstrokes and features both small period details and vast, sweeping vistas that evoke both the reality of the setting and the importance of the events. This is superb visual storytelling that establishes a convincing, definitive record of a key eyewitness to significant social change, and that leaves readers demanding the second volume.—Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH
What People are Saying About This
Meet the Author
JOHN LEWIS is Georgia's Fifth Congressional District Representative and an American icon widely known for his role in the Civil Rights Movement.
As a student at American Baptist Theological Seminary in 1959, John Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. He was beaten severely by angry mobs and arrested by police for challenging the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the South.
From 1963 to 1966, Lewis was Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). As Chairman, John Lewis became a nationally recognized leader. Lewis was dubbed one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and at the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963.
In 1964, John Lewis coordinated SNCC efforts to organize voter registration drives and community action programs during the Mississippi Freedom Summer. The following year, Lewis helped spearhead one of the most seminal moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Hosea Williams, another notable Civil Rights leader, and John Lewis led over 600 peaceful, orderly protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965. They intended to march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state. The marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers in a brutal confrontation that became known as "Bloody Sunday." News broadcasts and photographs revealing the senseless cruelty of the segregated South helped hasten the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. After leaving SNCC in 1966, he continued his commitment to the Civil Rights Movement as Associate Director of the Field Foundation and his participation in the Southern Regional Council's voter registration programs. Lewis went on to become the Director of the Voter Education Project (VEP). In 1977, John Lewis was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to direct more than 250,000 volunteers of ACTION, the federal volunteer agency.
In 1981, he was elected to the Atlanta City Council. He was elected to Congress in November 1986 and has served as U.S. Representative of Georgia's Fifth Congressional District since then. In 2011 he was awarded the Presidental Medal of Freedom.
Lewis' 1999 memoir Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, called "the definitive account of the civil rights movement" (The Washington Post), won numerous honors, including the Robert F. Kennedy, Lillian Smith, and Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. His most recent book, Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change, received for the NAACP Image Award.
His first graphic novel, March (Book One) -- co-authored with Andrew Aydin -- will be published by Top Shelf in August 2013.
ANDREW AYDIN, an Atlanta native, currently serves in Rep. John Lewis' Washington, D.C. office handling telecommunications and technology policy as well as new media. Previously, he served as communications director and press secretary during Rep. Lewis' 2008 and 2010 re-election campaigns, as district aide to Rep. John Larson, and as special assistant to Connecticut Lt. Governor Kevin Sullivan. Andrew is a graduate of the Lovett School in Atlanta, Trinity College in Hartford, and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
His first graphic novel, March (Book One) -- co-authored with Congressman John Lewis -- will be published by Top Shelf in 2013.
NATE POWELL is a New York Times best-selling graphic novelist born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1978. He began self-publishing at age 14, and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2000.
His work includes "March", the graphic novel autobiography of Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis (Top Shelf, 2013); the critically acclaimed "Any Empire" (Top Shelf, 2011); "Swallow Me Whole" (Eisner Award winner for Best Graphic Novel, two-time Ignatz Award winner, YALSA selection, and LA Times Book Prize finalist; Top Shelf, 2008); "The Silence Of Our Friends"(YALSA selection; First Second, 2012); "The Year Of The Beasts" (Roaring Brook, 2012); and "Sounds Of Your Name" (Microcosm Publishing, 2006).
Powell appeared at the United Nations in 2011, discussing his contribution to the fundraising fiction anthology What You Wish For: A Book For Darfur alongside some of the world's foremost writers of young adult fiction.
He's currently working as the artist on two high-profile projects: March, the three-part graphic novel memoir of Congressman John Lewis, and the graphic novel adaptation of Rick Riordan's #1 international bestseller Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero. In addition, he is writing and drawing his own forthcoming graphic novel Cover and assembling the short story collection You Don't Say.
From 1999 to 2009, Nate worked full-time supporting adults with developmental disabilities. He managed DIY punk record label Harlan Records for 16 years, and has performed in the bands Universe, Divorce Chord, Soophie Nun Squad, Wait, and Boomfancy. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Can't wait for the next two! This is the book schools, teachers and graphic novels as a whole have been waiting for
Absolutely extraordinary. A historic work unto itself, depicting a dark moment in our nation's past with hope and optimism. The beauty of this book is the simplicity with which complicated ideas are conveyed. Perfect for young readers and older readers alike.
A spectacularly well written and illustrated story of a man we should all know more about. Perfect for the teen you know that needs a little inspiration or motivation.
The book is fantastic. The illustrations are wonderfully done. The authentic feel of the story being in black and white versus color is nicely done. I will be reading and using this book with my students. I can't wait for Book 2.
A classic work of literature that, along with it's spectacular subsequent volumes, will be read for generations.
Nate's art fits the story perfectly.
This book should be a must read on everyone's list. I grew up in this time period but was sheltered in the Midwest. I remember the scenes of the attack dogs and fire hoses but couldn't understand the reason for them. We are in a time now that may not be formal desegregation but there are still groups in America that are being disenfranchised.
Great story. Also it is just a great graphic novel.
I read this book for class. It is helpful for understanding sit-ins that took place for civil rights movements. If you are interested in history you will enjoy this novel.
Couldn't put it down, and then when I finished I had to go read the next one. It's that good.
A spectacular work of memoir that stands with Maus and Persepolis at the pinnacle of graphic novel literature.
I was intrigued by the format of this book. The illustrations are stellar. However it offers more of an introduction to the subject matter and I was hoping for more of an in-depth individual perspective. It seems appropriate for a middle school to high school audience.
I just finished John Lewis' book "Walking With The Wind" and this book is especially good for students to learn about a time in our history that is largely left untouched in our schools. This is an excellent book that I highly recommend to folks of all ages! Let us never forget our past so that we don't make the same mistakes in our future!
I learned so much from this.