The Last MARCH
Dear John Lewis,
Reading MARCH has made me really reconsider what I knew about the civil rights movement. I had learned about it in school but looking back it was a very watered down version of everything that had happened. Their were so many people involved, both in leadership and tragedy, that I had never even heard of before reading your story. I feel like I understand the struggle more after reading a first hand account of all the events that lead up to the signing of the Voting Rights Act.
With the assassinations of Malcolm X and Jimmie Lee Jackson, everything only got worse with the violence on Bloody Sunday. It was so shocking to see the police so violently assault such peaceful protesters. It was especially ironic because the protesters were praying. So many people were sent to the hospital and moral seemed to be broken. Even so, on March 21 they marched again all the way to Selma. The dedication everyone showed to the cause is extremely admirable
Even though voting isn’t an issue anymore, our world is filled with inequalities. Now more than ever we need to remember to fight for what is right. We have to remember that everything we have now, we have because someone stood up and said it was what we deserved. We can not be scared to fight against the inequalities of the world. If MARCH has taught me anything it is that we need to always do what we can to better the world.
Dear John Lewis,
This part of MARCH, an election for the Presidency is riling everyone up. Once again, the right to vote is brought up. Several people faced horrible atrocities just for wanting to be able to register to vote in the election. It’s horrific to think that people would attack African Americans for asking to be allowed to vote for their President. It makes me sick just thinking about it. All that struggle and they still lost. It must have felt so defeating.
You traveled around the world advocating for your cause as things in the US continued to decline. The SNCC was buckling under its weight and the more than joined, the harder it was to make decisions. They were split on everything. Groups can often be split from movements, it happens all the time now. A small but vocal minority can paint a bad picture of the whole movement. It’s happened with things like the femanist movement and other similar ones. The story continues to escalate, small victories are nice but that’s not what they want anymore. They just want to be equal. It’s awful to think simple actions like going through the front door could escalate into police violence and arrest.
MARCH continues to push the idea of protesting for change. That waiting isn’t the right way to make things happen, and no matter what the opposing side throws at you keep pushing forward. Even now, in a day and age where there is more equality than ever, inequality is still rampant and we can not just settle for small victories.
Change Happens Through Protest
Dear John Lewis,
This section of MARCH was infuriating and depressing to read. Reading about the trials of African Americans as they fought for their right to vote and to end segregation broke my heart. It’s appalling to look back and see just what the police and other whites were willing to do to keep African Americans as essentially second class citizens. And even after Kennedy’s assassination and Johnson’s push for equality, things like literacy test still stood in the way of equality. The worst thing was remembering than most of the things the police did had been completely legal; I have to wonder if it was your intention to re enforce the idea that just because something is legal does not mean it is moral.
One thing that was completely gut wrenching was when the 3 kids when to Mississippi to volunteer for Freedom Summer and disappeared. The vile actions of the police made me infuriated that someone would kill 3 people in cold blood to try and deter others from fighting for their rights. It hit me particularly hard when the members of the SNCC explained that things like that would continue to happen but the ends would justify the means. Even with all the protests, inequality still stood.
MARCH has really been pushing the idea of fighting for your rights and standing your ground. Even when it seemed futile, they pushed on because nothing was going to change if they didn’t take it for themselves. I definitely think that is a lesson that will continue to be relevant for decades to come, especially since a lot of new laws have felt like a backslide of human rights in the past few years. What is legal is not always what is right and we have to remember that we cannot give in to discrimination no matter what.
Dear John Lewis,
MARCH thus far has made me feel shocked and appalled that these terrible acts could have ever taken place. The church bombing had me almost in tears; I couldn’t believe anyone would have enough hatred to do something like that. The violation of human rights made me so angry, especially that the officers who shot a child never got convicted. I could never understand how someone could think so little of another group of people, and the people in charge saw no real reason to enact change. I feel as though one of the reasons the children committing hate crimes was added in to show how deep racism ran. Children only know what is taught to them, and they were taught hate.
This story made me think a lot about racism more in depth because racism is now very heavily frowned upon but back then it was the norm. But even with that social shift things like this happen all the time to all minorities. Minorities deal with hate crimes and are still fighting for their rights but the majority of people are unwilling to help them.
To help these issues we must protest against these injustices. If the people in charge do not want to make changes, we as a society are responsible for demanding changes.
My Favorite Fairy Tale
I would say I have a pretty obsessive personality. When I love something, I love it with all my heart. I learn absolutely everything I can about it and it’s basically my favorite thing in the world. But the only thing I can think of that has spanned my whole life, without me even realizing it, is theatre.
It started when I was 5. Every spare moment of everyday I would beg my mom to play my favorite movie The Little Mermaid. Every time my mom popped it into the DVD player and the opening played my eyes would light up and I would be entranced. Maybe it was because of the pretty mermaids or the fun sea creatures, but I loved this movie more than anything else. Anytime a song would start I would sing along. I have always liked singing but these songs brought out the performer in me. My sister and I would jump around the living room from couch to couch belting out a, very likely off-key, rendition of ‘part of your world’ and dance around stupidly to ‘under the sea’. Sometimes we would even try our hand at a scary evil ‘poor unfortunate soul’. The little mermaid was my first taste of what a musical could do. How exciting and engaging something could be with a little song and dance; I would go through about 12 different emotions repeatedly in the span of an hour and a half long movie. I was in love with musicals and I didn’t even know what they were called yet. In hindsight, this was the first indication that I would be a weird theatre kid.
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