Dear John Lewis,
In these final pages of MARCH, you showed the last stretch of the civil rights movement and your place in it: a man with a goal for justice. You showcased the nighttime march for James Orange after the rallying by C.T. Vivian–which resulted in a near-death shooting. You gave us yours and King’s words about Malcolm X’s assassination, and your own thoughts about marching with King rather than just idly supporting. You even spliced in your future meeting with Barack Obama, which brought you to tears. Your leading of King’s march, into a very brutal response from police known as Bloody Sunday. There was a second march, led by King, only to be turned around shortly after. You then told of President Johnson’s speech, followed by the March.
As I read, it felt demoralizing seeing each march fall flat for one reason or another. This was all resolved with the joy of the final march and President Johnson’s speech supporting the march.
While you did cut ties with the SNCC for the purpose of participating in the march, did you fully cut ties with all remaining members? Or was it more temporary? While the march was held, and the voting act was signed, how many years did it take for you and other blacks to feel safe in the South?
In this time, the publicizing of Bloody Sunday would have gone global in mere days, let alone the other atrocities committed. Additionally, there would be a lot more diversity throughout all marches; which could deter or alter the cops’ behavior. Additionally, this diversity could spread the news about marches culturally and could nearly double those who attended.
I feel glad for having the opportunity to read such a gut-wrenching and real book.
Xavier Alphanso Edwards