March: Book One by Congressman John Lewis is one of our newest graphic novels, but the heroes in this story aren't fictional. March tells the story of one man's involvement with the Civil Rights Movement.
Congressman Lewis is heading to his office on January 20, 2009 for a momentous event; the swearing in of Barack Obama, the first African-American president. He's visited by a mother and her two young boys and takes a moment to give them a tour. He recounts to the family all the events that led him to such an extraordinary event. He grew up a poor black boy in Alabama. He loved learning and after the decision to desegregate schools, John was excited for a chance at a better education. He soon learned that even though segregation was illegal, the battle for equality was far from over. He met Martin Luther King, Jr. as a young man, when John hoped to transfer to all-white Troy State University. King wanted to help him win the fight to enroll, but as a minor John needed his parents to file the lawsuit. Fearing retribution from the community, his parents refused to sign for John. Disappointed, but not dissuaded, John became heavily involved with the organization of sit-in protests at local Nashville restaurants. He and other peaceful protesters sat a lunch counters asking to be served like everyone else. They were met with rudeness, violence, mockery, and worse. But they persisted and in May 10, 1960 six downtown Nashville stores served black customers for the first time.
Stay tuned for the continuation of this story throughout the graphic novel series.