By John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
John Lewis is the most authentically heroic figure in contemporary politics I know of: brave, principled, patriotic. He was, astoundingly, one of the “Big Six” civil rights leaders by age 23 — a “defining activist of his day”, and he carries to this day the legacy of MLK Jr., with tremendous moral authority.
This three-volume graphic novel provides a firsthand account of Lewis’ life and the civil rights era, and may be “one of the most important graphic novels ever created”.
As part of my implicit “no more than one book by any given author” rule for the volume you’re reading, I won’t write in depth about Lewis’ memoir, Walking With the Wind, but it’s also in my antilibrary and seems a great counterpart to March.
This book is a collaboration with cool origins: Aydin works in Lewis’ office, heard he was inspired by an MLK Jr. comic as a kid, and so conceived this series. Powell’s stark, powerful black-and-white illustrations bring this history-cum-autobiography vividly to life.
The dedication of the book is one of my favorite parts, simple yet profound: “To the past and future children of the movement.” It’s tragic that the aims of the civil rights movement are, emphatically, not yet fully realized. But this book, and Lewis’ life and work more generally, are important reminders of grace, humility, courage, and a strength of character that we can all aspire to.