March: Book Three, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell ISBN 9781603094023
Five out of five stars
For many years I have been a proponent of education by any means possible. Any medium that generates an interest in learning should be utilized to the greatest extent possible. This book is an existence proof of how an unusual mechanism, in this case a graphic novel, can be used to teach one of the most important lessons of history.
Given the passage of time, much of what had to be done to force the establishment of true civil rights in the United States has lost the significance in the minds of the latest generations. Simple things that many black people do today, such as eating lunch is a cafe, are rights and opportunities that were forcibly denied within the memories of many people that still live.
This book is one of the most powerful history books ever written, for it is not a collection of academic style text with charts and images. It presents the words of the people as dialog balloons and the events in the form of images drawn with great power of expression, even though there is no color.
The reader/viewer is taken inside the organizations of the Civil Rights Movement so that they can understand the thoughts and disagreements of the principals. One of the greatest contributions to history from this book is the relative roles played by some of the people that led the movement. Martin Luther King Jr. has gone down as the one with a federal holiday, but many people endured beatings and other hardships in order to make that possible.
This book and the other two in the series should be mandatory reading for high school history requirements. They tell history as it really happened, not through an academic lens. College teachers of history can also use them to great effect in their courses on twentieth century American history.