Episode 25: March Trilogy by the late Representative John Lewis (1940-2020)

John Lewis, 1964
John Lewis, 2006

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.”

(Book summaries from Penguin Random House Web site)

In Book Two, “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.”

“And finally in Book 3, By the fall of 1963, the Civil Rights Movement has penetrated deep into the American consciousness, and as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, John Lewis is guiding the tip of the spear. Through relentless direct action, SNCC continues to force the nation to confront its own blatant injustice, but for every step forward, the danger grows more intense: Jim Crow strikes back through legal tricks, intimidation, violence, and death. The only hope for lasting change is to give voice to the millions of Americans silenced by voter suppression: “One Man, One Vote.”

To carry out their nonviolent revolution, Lewis and an army of young activists launch a series of innovative campaigns, including the Freedom Vote, Mississippi Freedom Summer, and an all-out battle for the soul of the Democratic Party waged live on national television.

With these new struggles come new allies, new opponents, and an unpredictable new president who might be both at once. But fractures within the movement are deepening … even as 25-year-old John Lewis prepares to risk everything in a historic showdown high above the Alabama river, in a town called Selma.”

The Spoiler are back in this special 25th episode talking everything from from Stuart Hall to BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Once again the Spoilers struggle a bit with their non-mastery of the graphic subgenre, but in the end do a pretty dang good job talking about the text and the art of this wonderful piece series of books. Want to escape the temporal hellmouth that is 2020 for about an hour? Here’s your chance. Join the Spoilers on an intense march through history as they embark on a mission to expand the chronology of the CIvil Rights Movement in the public imagination. 

Mentioned in the Show + Things to Check Out!

Mentioned in the show:
Freedom Summer, Doug McAdam
The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, Sid Jacobson & Ernie Colon
Maus, Art Spiegelman
Blankets, Craig Thompson
Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (We might have said, “Persophone” in the show)
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Alison Bechdel

What the spoilers are reading, watching, listening to etc..

Adriana — The Black Panther series by Ta-Nehisi Coates (what should she start with?)
Todd — Just Us by Claudia Rankine (& Graywolf Press)
Crystal – Vanguard by Martha Jones
Anita – A Burning by Megha Majumdar

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