Best for: Anyone who doesn’t know about John Lewis. Also, anyone who does. Also, judging from the latest Pajiba post, Rob Schneider. Ooof.
In a nutshell: This is the second of three graphic novels about the life of John Lewis. It covers the early 60s, focusing on the Freedom Rides and the March on Washington.
Line that sticks with me: “We found out later that [Birmingham Police Chief ‘Bull’ Connor] had promised the Ku Klux Klan fifteen minutes with the bus before he’d make any arrests.”
Why I chose it: I really enjoyed book one and wanted to read the next part of the story.
Review: After I finished this book, I took a minute to wander over to Facebook and was greeted by a whole lot of crap being posted on the Pajiba article about Rob Schneider’s ignorant statement about Congressman Lewis and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It clearly was shared in some cesspool connected to the white supremacist movement, and it brought out some of the worst our country has to offer.
After finishing this book, I have no doubt that some of these same commenters would have thrown rocks and bottles at the Freedom Riders if they had been nearby. The same ones who claim that MLK ‘won’ civil rights, and that ‘reverse’ racism is the real problem, talk as though they would have supported the fight for integration and equal rights. But I see in them the people Congressman Lewis is talking about, who beat peaceful protestors sitting at lunch counters or who scoffed at those marching on Washington D.C. I see in them the same people who were angry that Black people were trying to buy tickets to see a movie in the whites-only theater, as opposed to the people who should have been angry that a whites-only theater even existed. I think I used to buy into the idea that racism would fade away as the old racist whites died off, but the last few months have shown me – a bit late, I know – that the old racist whites are being replaced by young racist whites who are just champing at the bit to spit in the faces of people seeking the equal rights that this country is still denying to so many.
This book was harder to read than Book One, but I also think it was a bit better. In discussing the freedom rides and other actions, it really gets into the discussions and disagreement that can arise when movements have the same goal but different methods. I think it is naïve to believe that everyone who is ostensibly fighting for the same causes and outcomes will agree on how to do that, and it’s inappropriate to judge the efficacy of a movement just because not everyone agrees on how to act.