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.
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.
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.
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.
Henry (CJ) Dodson