The Final Steps

The final pages of March start tragically with the beating, shooting, and subsequent death of Jimmie Lee Jackson. The tragedies continue with the assassination of civil rights leader Malcolm X. At Malcolm’s funeral, the idea of the titular march to Montgomery, Al, was born. The SNCC spent four days debating whether to include themselves in the march or not, they ultimately decided not to, but John Lewis, while still being a chairman on the SNCC, decided to march on his own without the support of the SNCC. The story jumps to the future where Mr.Lewis meets Obama, and they exchange a hug, and Obama signs a letter and gives it to Lewis. The next major scene is the tragic events of Bloody Sunday, where the non-violent protesters marching to Selma were stopped and beaten by state troopers. Next was turn around Tuesday, then the hearing of the SCLC’s injunction request. The Final major events of march depict LBJ’s American problem speech and his decision to allow the march to Selma to be completed untroubled. It had not yet truly hit me how hazardous participation in the civil rights movement was until I read the pages depicting the terrifying events of Bloody Sunday. The right to vote was given to me when I turned 18 this past October. I have not registered or even thought about voting in any election. This book changed that for me reading through it makes me want to get educated on the partisan topics dividing the country and put in my two cents. I believe Mr.Lewis’ intent towards the end of the novel was to send the message, “America was not always equal.” America, even now, is still believed to be unequal. The best solution I see right now is to protest. Maybe a march would work.


I am a freshman at GSU. I worked hard in high school to be eligible to receive HOPE in order to attend GSU. At the current cost of tuition, without HOPE I would not be able to receive higher education. And tuition is not the only problem as I also have to pay for dorming and textbooks for each class.  I remembered that I couldn’t buy a book this semester that is mandatory for class and had to resort to using free PDF versions of textbooks that could fail at any time. I looked at how much I spent on food because I don’t have a meal plan. Then I started thinking about how the money being spent on my tuition would help me if I could use it for other necessities.

When a student walks into the first floor of the Georgia State University library they are greeted by a space that embodies openness. Massive windows in front and behind, Saxby’s that has a windowed front so anybody can see the whole restaurant. Stairs to the second floor surrounded by an atrium-like opening

A picture of the Georgia State University library
The GSU Library first floor

and tons of desk and couches lined up for anybody to sit. The white and sky blue-colored walls make it feel as if one is studying in the sky and the brightly colored cushioned chairs only add on to that effect. The help desk has tons of Georgia State merch behind the counter and smiling librarians to help with all GSU students’ needs. Of course in a library, there are books but the only books on the first floor are the new arrivals stood on the right side of the entrance.

In the back of the first floor on the right, there are also various video materials such as DVDs and VHS tapes for all entertainment and educational needs. On the opposite side of the video materials, there are old newspapers that show the older days of Georgia. On the right side of the library, most of the technology that students need is there. There are desks with plugs on the top so students can charge their devices. Next to that, there are two rows of computers and monitors with a printer on one end of one row usually lined with students. 


The rows of computers are lined with students doing online work and typing away for hours at a time so that they finish their assignments, so they could pass their classes. In the back of the library in the various desk sit many students. Most of them have their laptops out working on their assignments. Dressed in hats, jackets, and sweaters thick for the cold weather. The students are wrapped up in their various lives some intertwined with each other. Students are studying alone with headphones in. They could be listening to their favorite song, a podcast, or nothing, using the headphones to get people to stay away. There are students studying with each other, some ironically loud and other quiet and hardly noticeable.


 Looking across the desk there is a lone laptop with nobody nearby. The lone laptop has an HP logo and looks fairly new also fairly expensive. The student with the HP laptop eventually returned and it turns out he was just helping a fellow student out with some work. He had a black Supreme bomber jacket with an unstained white Supreme t-shirt underneath. He had dark blue jeans with a Gucci logo on the back and white socks and multicolored Balenciaga sneakers. The sneakers alone cost nearly 1,000 dollars and the other brands he was wearing were also notoriously expensive. This heavily contrasted his peers at the computer. The student at the school computers was wearing a zipped up grey jacket with frayed sleeves. Light blue jeans with holes in the knees and shoes caked with dirt and lacking aglets.

I overheard a conversation between the two about where to eat before they left HP student wanted to go get Zaxby’s but the student at the school computer said that he needs to buy something later that week and said he couldn’t. HP offered to buy for both of them and then they left.

Looking at interactions between people who have to worry about college costs and those who do not paint a vivid picture of the expenses of higher education. The expenses of college are infamous for their high cost. Books, Room and board, and especially Tuition make up the largest expenses of college. Most college students pay for tuition using loans and the debt that former and current college students owe makeup 1.5 trillion U.S dollars.

a man compared to 1 trillion dollars
A man compared to 1 trillion dollars taken from

There is currently nobody in the world with nearly enough money to even touch the debt. The highest net worth in the world is only 111 billion USD. If someone cannot afford a meal plan at the beginning of the school year they will either spend more than what the meal plan cost or have days where they have to starve. Students suffer during college from lack of funds attempting to join a world where they’ll be deeper in debt from the interest on student loans. 



Dear John Lewis,

The next excerpt I read from march started with the Funeral of James Chaney and your impassioned speech about the situation African Americans were in during the civil rights era. Next came the speech at the 1964 Republican National Convention from Governor Nelson Rockefeller who was booed by his fellow Republicans for calling out extremists during his speech. Next was the conversation between LBJ and Hubert Humphrey in order to stop the civil rights movement and the attempts to stop Joe Rauh from having his voice heard. Next was the powerful testimony by Ms.Fannie Lou Hammer about her experiences and the terror she experienced from being black in Mississippi. Then came the testimony from Rita Schwerner, James Farmer, Roy Wilkins, and Finally DR. Martin Luther King. After that was the backfiring of LBJ’s attempt to cut off Ms.Hammer then the meeting between civil rights activist and Herbert Humphrey. then the meeting to fix the MFDP’s position in politics then Roy’s outburst about the decision. Next was the sit-in and subsequent arrest of those participating and the nomination of LBJ for a second term. Then your internal conflict about the outcome of the election and meeting with Belafonte in Africa. Next was your visits and experiences in Africa and New Guinea with black people as the majority. There you saw the radical beliefs of the African youth following the movement. Next was your unplanned meeting with Malcolm X in Kenya and your conversation about civil rights. Next was the announcement of LBJ’s second term and Robert Kennedey’s Senate Seat. As I read I realized the hardships of the Civil rights movement was more than just physical. There were people in high places that wanted you to lose and that realization made me sick. One solution now would be to put people of color in office.


CJ Dodson

Violence in the South

Dear Mr. John Lewis

I went through March Book Three from the introduction of Jim Clark to the Democratic National Convention. After Jim Clark’s debut, there was the disgusting behavior of Clark and his posse. Then the discriminatory practices of the South on how they kept African Americans from voting. Next, the Freedom Day protest and major Smelley’s resistance, After that was the introduction of Bob Moses and creating the Freedom Vote initiative in Jackson, Mississippi. Then The Introduction of Fannie Lou Hamer and President Kennedy’s assassination and the affect on the SNCC.
Next came the LBJ administration’s pleas for civil rights protesters to stop. Next came the Toddle House protest and their success, After that was the last SNCC meeting of the year and discussion of the Mississippi Freedom Project and its announcement. Then Mississippi’s government was arming themselves, and the KKK was terrorizing the state. Next was the training camp for the project and the kidnapping of the three volunteers. Next came the investigation by Mississippi protesters into the missing volunteers, after that was the investigation by the Navy and FBI and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Then the laws that were used to stop the Selma protest. Then came the NAACP rejection of protest and the bodies of the three missing volunteers and finally the Democratic National Convention. Overall the content of this portion of the book was pretty destressing with lots of death and violence. I was wondering why you included the party scene, but I concluded that it was to show that there was a light in the darkness. There were positive scenes, but rarely any positive expressions and that scene delivered both. Regarding the violence by the South, the only solution I could prepose would be to stand tall.

Best Regards,

Cj Dodson

My Thoughts While Reading March

Dear Mr.John Lewis:

As I read the beginning of the book, it felt as if I was taking a walk through each event. Nate Powell’s illustrations of the church bombing left me feeling scared and afraid. The tragic deaths of Virgil Ware and Johnny Robinson shook me to my core as they seemed like headlines I could find in the news today. Seeing the Birmingham Terminal reminded me of the success that had been made before, then seeing the aftermath of the bombing showed me there was a long way to go. Dr.King’s speech at the funeral of the four children who tragically lost their lives and his promise to Diane Nash to do something reinvigorated me and filled me with hope. When I saw the inauguration of President Barack Obama, I knew even if we as African Americans didn’t reach our goal, we were close.
Seeing the father of McNair expressing anguish at the loss of his daughter stayed with me. The contrast between the father saying “I’d like to blow the whole town up” and his still-living daughter repeatedly saying “No” made me think that it was meant to express the divide between the major groups in the civil rights movement. Denise’s father was meant to represent the more extreme groups, his larger and clearer speech bubble and what he says is used to express the more violent tendencies of those groups. Her sister was meant to represent the mainstream non-violent movement. Her speech bubbles being more muddied but persisting for a long time shows the success of the campaign.
The violence towards African Americans is a problem that has yet to be solved. The only answer I found is a full reform of the Justice System.

Best Regards,
Henry (CJ) Dodson

Wizardry in the 8th Grade

Picture of a middle school
My Middle School

In the library of Trickum Middle School in my 8th grade year is when i first started to read the Harry Potter Novels. I felt a certain gravitation towards the novels as I had moved that summer and felt out of place among my peers at school just as Harry did as a wizard in his home. The shelves of the library were not that high and at the beginning of the school year I was not that tall so the top of the shelves were a bit above me. I had heard nothing but good about the series and was very interested in reading it. I didn’t go to the library often but I knew enough about how to navigate it and immediately find what I was looking for. After all these years I cannot remember how the first book started, but I do remember immediately being hooked. Throughout the rest of the school year I continued to enjoy the next 6 books. I entered my own little world when i picked up those books. I lived without worries for the hours I spent journeying through the wizarding world. I lived a life without school, homework, or whatever meaningless middle school drama existed. All I knew was the problems and joys faced by the characters.



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