March: Book Two

March: Book Two
Written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, Illustrated by Nate Powell

Publisher’s Summary:
Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, continues his award-winning graphic novel trilogy with co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell, inspired by a 1950s comic book that helped prepare his own generation to join the struggle. Now, March brings the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today’s world. After the success of the Nashville sit-in campaign, John Lewis is more committed than ever to changing the world through nonviolence – but as he and his fellow Freedom Riders board a bus into the vicious heart of the deep south, they will be tested like never before. Faced with beatings, police brutality, imprisonment, arson, and even murder, the movement’s young activists place their lives on the line while internal conflicts threaten to tear them apart.

But their courage will attract the notice of powerful allies, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy… and once Lewis is elected chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, this 23-year-old will be thrust into the national spotlight, becoming one of the “Big Six” leaders of the civil rights movement and a central figure in the landmark 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Primary Source Pairing:
Book two of a three-part series on the amazing life of Civil Rights Activist John Lewis, March: Book Two presents Lewis’ ongoing involvement in the Civil Rights Movement specifically focusing on the Freedom Riders. Use the book itself to present the importance and the power of visual literacy. Begin a discussion with students on the format of this memoir: How does the graphic novel format of the text influence the story of John Lewis’ life? How does the format enhance the information in this memoir? Does the graphic novel format increase the reader’s comprehension of information in the book? How? Why?

For this primary source pairing, invite students to analyze two images. The first image is of people on a bus during a Freedom Riders ride. The second is of a burned out bus that is similar to the illustration on the front of the book. Let the questions that arise during analysis guide the discussion about the book and the series as a whole.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What’s happening in the image
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • How are they arranged?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What, if any, words do you see?
  • What other details can you see?
  • How does this photograph connect to what you read in March: Book Two?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Freedom Riders: Flickr
Bus Carrying “Freedom Riders” Burns: Flickr

Primary Source Pairings for the March Series:
March: Book One
March: Book Three

Additional Resource:
“Freedom Riders:” PBS American Experience