Illustrated by Nate Powell
In this second volume of the life of former Senator John Lewis, we see Lewis as a college student who is getting more and more involved in the racial protests in the South. Lewis was one of the first and longest members of the Freedom Riders group who bought tickets on buses going between several states and challenged bus company's rules that buses needed to be segregated. This was in direct violation of the Supreme Court ruling in Morgan v. Virginia where the court found segregated buses to be unconstitutional. Lewis narrowly missed being on one of the buses that was attacked and torched by KKK members. On several occasions, Lewis and other riders were jailed and refused to post bail, saying that paying it would then fund the racist policies they were fighting against. Lewis gets more involved with Dr. King, and is selected as one of the six representatives to meet with President Kennedy on the racial tensions in the south. Lewis is elected the president of SYNC, and later is the last speaker at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where King delivered his famous, "I Have a Dream Speech." Included in end notes is the full text of Lewis' speech, called "This is It".
Depending on the historical education students have already received, the contents of Book Two might be more familiar to them than Book One. The Freedom Riders, Montgomery Children's March, the Selma to Montgomery March, and the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom are all major events that are usually part of Civil Rights education. Having this first-hand account from a person who participated or helped plan all of these monumental moments is invaluable. Lewis' speech from the March on Washington usually gets overshadowed by King's speech, so I am particularly glad that this volume includes full pages of Lewis delivering the speech as part of the story, as well as including the speech in its entirety at the back. There are so many things in Lewis' speech that are, unfortunately, still relevant today, decades after he called for the changes that were needed in the 1960s.
Powell's illustrations once again skillfully bring this story to life, and they are engrossing. This is one of those books that readers could very easily find themselves sucked into with no concept of time passing.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 8-12
Publisher: Top Shelf
Publication Date: January 20, 2015
ISBN: 9781603094009 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Graphic Nonfiction, Memoir, History, Race Relations
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