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Segregation was a difficult experience for African Americans in the 1960’s. Throughout the book March, written by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell; they discuss the hardships John Lewis faces growing up, and the actions he took to change society. As the book progresses, it goes into detail of Lewis’ religion and leadership throughout the South. Lewis overcomes reality as a child first by preaching to chickens, which later helped him build up enough courage to join the Civil Rights Movement.
Racial minorities in America during the 1960’s caused a high rate of intercultural and interracial communications, through the way in which John Lewis describes his life and what steps he took to get peace among everyone.
In the book, March, John Lewis explains the hardships he had to face growing up in segregation during the 1960’s. He explains not only the struggle of living “on 110 acres of cotton, corn, and peanut fields,” but also the mental toll it took on him (Lewis and Aydin pg 21).
Lewis’s home was in Pike County, Alabama where there was not equal treatment among races. His home life was not difficult, but it was very hard for his parents to support him. Lewis wanted to go out a make a difference. Lewis’ parents knew that with him standing up for their race they would risk their home or even lives. As he grows older, he realizes that he is capable of being proud of who he is and to stand up for what he believes is right.
The most powerful panels I seen throughout the March book was the three panels on top of page 7. These three panels are specifically talking about the non-violent march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The panels are shown as if you are looking from both of their perspectives. On the left hand side you can see the Black Americans simply just asking for a conversation or a settlement. Then on the right hand side the panel is double the size of the other two and it shows all the troops with guns and sticks. The speaker from the troops says “there is no word to be had.” (Lewis and Aydin pg 7). Also it says that “[they] have two minutes to turn around and go back to their church.” (Lewis and Aydin pg 7). You can tell that the White Americans are very timid and are clearly upset about the non-violent protest. Not only that butas I begin to analyze the picture a little bit more, the words coming from the Black Americans are in a smooth bubble. While the other bubbles have sharp edges and resembles a saw blade. Throughout the rest of the panels on that page you can tell that the Black Americans felt very uneasy about continuing to walk, but they knew they had to. The walk itself had to be a very stressful situation, knowing that they or their family could get hurt and their houses could be bombed. They knew the challenges they would have to overcome to stop the discrimination.
In the article, “The Civil Rights Movement: What Good Was It?” written by Alice Walker, “Dr. Martin Luther King jr. was the first African-American to be shown on television.” This was a key point in history for Black Americans. They finally had someone of their own color representing the majority of Black Americans. As people listened to his “I Have A Dream Speech,” it gave them the ability to not be ashamed to walk out of their houses, and to not be scared of the consequences of standing up for what they believe is right. Lewis’ commitment to ensuring non-violent activism is a result of Dr. Martin Luther King’s nationwide movements that are influenced greatly by the nonviolent ethics of Christianity. This branch of the Civil Rights Movement is greatly guided by the concepts of loving thy neighbor and being forgiving even towards the hateful. These concepts guide Lewis’ actions in many difficult situations, as he remains peaceful even when threatened by violence. As Lewis begins his civil disobedience training, he continually keeps the Christian concept of nonviolence in each of his students’ minds. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (King 1).
In conclusion, there are many instances in March where Lewis risks his life to spread a message of peace and equality. Lewis allows his faith in God to guide him in his aspirations, and also in his activism. Lewis’ role in the Civil Rights Movement does involve sacrifice. To make change in the United States, Lewis, along with other brave students, placed himself in very dangerous situations. He ultimately sacrifices his life to ensure that Black Americans receive equal quality of life in the United States. At the Woolworth’s sit-in, John Lewis even thinks, “I was not afraid. I felt free, liberated–like I had crossed over” (Lewis and Aydin pg 102). Lewis put himself in an alarming position; even risking his own safety to deliver peace and equality.
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