In the past three years, I’ve become especially fond of graphic format books. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin’s March Trilogy (illustrated by Nate Powell) happen to be among my favorites. The trio compose Congressman John Lewis’ graphic memoir, recollecting the 1960s, culminating with the March on Selma. I love that not only do readers have access to Lewis’ history, we get a glimpse of his experience as, decades later, he witnesses history—the inauguration of the first African-American President. I have tried unsuccessfully for quite some time to put the emotions these books evoked into words. And even though I’ve begun typing this blog post, I still don’t quite have the words to do these texts justice. So, I won’t. What I will do is encourage you to read them for yourself.
Here’s why you should:
- You’ll learn something.
- The graphic format makes them quick reads.
- The purposeful black and white illustrations will take you to a place you’ve never been, and likely won’t want to go back to.
- Somewhere in between those pages you’ll begin to hear John Lewis’ voice and become wrapped up in his story.
- You’ll learn something. Yes, I know I’ve said that already.
So what makes it required reading? It’s a compelling story of strength, courage, persistence, and struggle. And for whom? All of us. I don’t care how old you are, this story is meant for you, your child, your grandchildren, your grandparents.
We need this right now. Whether you disagree or agree with what’s happening in our nation right now, my heart longs to believe that each of us wants equality for our fellow man. You might say we have that. But truth is, there are many who still seek it in some way. We need March Trilogy to help us understand there are many among us who feel disadvantaged, marginalized, and/or disenfranchised. We need March Trilogy because deep down we want to be part of change, but aren’t sure how to go about it. We need March Trilogy because there’s a fear deep within that making “good trouble” might have consequences we aren’t prepared for. We need March Trilogy because we need to understand that “good trouble” is necessary.So here’s the thing with graphic format books: the illustrations a lot of times say more than the words. At the end of March: Book One, there is an incoming call, informing the reader another book is to come. I didn’t expect this to be the case at the end of March: Book Three because I knew it would be the last in the trilogy. So when I hurriedly opened to the last page to see how Powell chose to end the story, I was shocked and confused to find that same incoming call. Now that I’ve finished reading, I realize it means there is still work to do. How ironic? There is still some issue(s) calling for”good trouble” to be made. And while I have quietly been part of that necessary trouble, I stand proud of those whose voices are crying out, whose feet are MARCHing in support of current injustices in hopes of a more just society.
This. Is. Required. Reading.
And if reading the March Trilogy compels you—and I don’t doubt it will—watch Selma. If you aren’t familiar with it, here’s the trailer.
And to close out this post, a few of the songs that came to mind while reading.